Wiltshire Council has submitted expressions of interest for the Government’s Future High Street Fund to boost the town centres in Chippenham and Trowbridge for residents, businesses and visitors. The Future High Streets fund is a £675m central government fund that is open for applications from towns and cities throughout England. The fund recognises the continuing importance of high streets as places where commerce and community meet, and aims to support high streets as they change to meet the needs and expectations of communities now and in the future.
Pauline Church, cabinet member for economic development, said: “We’re delighted to have submitted these expressions of interest for the Future High Street Funding in Chippenham and Trowbridge. “Both Chippenham and Trowbridge are historic towns with a great deal of potential, and if successful, the Future High Streets Fund will allow us to invest in major projects that improve the offer in both towns for residents, businesses and tourists alike.”
The Chippenham bid focuses on improvements set out in the Vision for Chippenham in the town masterplan. It aims to improve the town’s shopping and leisure provision, emphasise its role as a riverside market town surrounded by beautiful countryside, and build on its natural assets and heritage.
Suggestions for the fund in Chippenham include proposals to improve car parking and attract retail-led occupancy with high quality design and an enhanced public realm; redevelopment around Bath Road/Bridge Centre; improvements to pedestrian links across the town; and development opportunities in the shopping centres.
The Trowbridge expression of interest recognises a range of opportunities that could help transform the centre. It focuses on the main aspects of the town’s masterplan, ensuring that the key assets of the river, parks, canal and historic buildings provide a range of quality spaces and environments, along with improving leisure and shopping opportunities.
The bid for funding in the town includes resources to help improve traffic and to encourage walking and cycling by improving access; enhancements to Castle Place and the Town Hall; and an assessment of development potential around Court Street and Castle Street.
If these expressions of interest are successful, the Government will release some initial funding to help develop these proposals in more detail. At this stage there will be a full consultation with businesses, the community and key stakeholders.
Wiltshire Council has also submitted a Future High Streets Fund bid for Salisbury; the authority was allowed to submit up to three expressions of interest in total.