October 2019: News from your local MP
High Street on national agenda
GOOD news has been coming in thick and fast for Kingswood High Street over recent weeks – the latest news is that it will receive backing through the government’s Future High Streets Fund.
Last month, the prime minister set out his Government’s plan to unite and level up across our country, turbo-charging our cities, our towns, our coastal communities and rural areas. He committed to a £3.6 billion Towns Fund demonstrating a commitment to prosperity in towns across the country. Following this extension of the Future High Streets Fund (FHSF) programme, Kingswood has been selected to go through to the next stage.
South Gloucestershire Council had submitted a Kingswood expression of interest bid earlier in the year to complement the wider regional Love Our High Streets project that’s been launched in conjunction with the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), headed by mayor Tim Bowles.
In progressing to this next phase of government assessment with up to £150,000 of funding, the council will need to develop a full business case for capital investment of up to £25m to invest in things like infrastructure, housing and work spaces.
I look forward to supporting the Kingswood bid as it progresses to its next stage and towards an all-important potential national award of funding to make various improvements that respond to what the community is asking for - and which complements the regional funding that has already been awarded by mayor Bowles.
This latest news follows a flurry of activity designed to boost Kingswood High Street.
Earlier this month planning approval was granted to save the listed Masters Church, subject to completing a legal agreement. WECA funding from a £3million pot for Kingswood will ensure a scheme of stabilisation is undertaken to protect the Tabernacle building. And a consultation continues on plans to submit a lottery bid to transform Kingswood Park – the frontpage story for last month’s Voice.
This past year has been a real game-changer for our high streets as they are now firmly on the national, regional and local agenda and I look forward to seeing more vibrant and thriving high streets not just in Kingswood, but across the local area.