February 2021: News from your local MP
A brilliant boost for us in 2021
BOXING Day saw the announcement of the best Christmas present for Kingswood - £12.5million of new government funding to revitalise our town centre, which is something I have been campaigning on since becoming the local MP.
That has now grown to more than £25million following the unveiling of plans from both Conservative-run South Gloucestershire Council and Mayor Tim Bowles’ West of England Combined Authority to match the funding secured from government.
This is the latest in a series of substantial investments from Mayor Bowles and the Combined Authority, drawing on the funding approved in 2018 from the “Love our High Streets” initiative.
Our historic Whitfield Tabernacle will be fully restored (beyond the stabilisation works which are under way) and the pedestrianisation of Regent Street alongside investment into the creation of a new public open space, ushering opportunities for markets, performance arts and cultural events. The funding will also enable traffic re-routing and promote cycling, walking and access to nearby green spaces and Kingswood’s local heritage sites.
The funding will also allow the council to pursue investment into property and commercial premises that will directly contribute to the town centre regeneration at a time when the market faces considerable challenges to investment at scale.
Supporting the bid was a thorough business case which has been informed by two public engagement exercises, the most recent of which took place between May and June last year. Local people’s participation has played a major part in developing a masterplan for Kingswood which the Council aims to take to wider public consultation this year.
As well as being fantastic news for Kingswood, it is evidence of the importance of effective partnership working at all level of government – local, regional and national – and the role of an MP to lobby decision-makers at every stage. With so much local ambition for a positive future of Kingswood town centre that respects our proud heritage, I am focused on ensuring there is enough resource to ensure they come to fruition and pledge to continue campaigning for further investment and support for our area.