Penzance’s main shopping area is one step closer to securing up to £25m in Government funding to unlock a series of improvements, thanks to work led by the local community with support from Cornwall Council.
Following a bid to the national £675m High Street Fund, Cornwall Council revealed today that Penzance has successfully moved on to the next stage of the process for consideration to secure up to £25m to improve the high street for residents.
The final decision will be made once a detailed business case is developed for the specific projects in the town centre.
Launched on the 26 December 2018, the Future High Streets Fund is a key part of the Government’s plan for the High Street, providing up front revenue support to help develop detailed business cases and then, if they are successful, co-funding towards capital projects that transform and regenerate town centres through innovative proposals around transport, housing delivery and our public services.
Penzance was put forward by the council due to the unique mix of regeneration opportunities available to tackle the challenges faced by the town and has been supported by local partners and stakeholders, the Penzance Place Shaping Board and Regeneration Group, businesses and community organisations.
The bids from Camborne, Newquay and St Austell were not successful in this round of funding and Cornwall Council said it will continue to work with these towns to secure funds by other means.
Penzance East Councillor Tim Dwelly, who chairs Cornwall Council’s High Street Vitality Inquiry, said: “This is excellent news and a reward for all our hard work in Penzance focusing on ways to revitalise our town’s shopping streets. Our town team proposed a number of innovative ideas to Government and they have responded.
“I’m proud that Penzance was the town in Cornwall chosen to receive this funding but I can’t pretend it didn’t take years of hard work to get us to this point. We also made best use of around £250,000 from the Sainsbury’s development to prepare for this.
“The news shows how important hard work done at a town level can be in winning investment. This is why the Cornwall-wide High Street Vitality Inquiry is in the process of developing recommendations that will help to shape the Council’s approach to supporting High Streets in Cornwall so that other towns in Cornwall have a chance to develop and shape their own vision of their town’s future.
“Penzance needs to see results for its hard work and in turn this will show other towns in Cornwall that it is worth them going through the efforts we have made in Penzance.”
Penzance Promenade Councillor Jim McKenna, who chairs the Penzance Place Shaping group and Cornwall Council’s Economic Growth and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee said: “This is great news for Penzance and all those who live and work here. It has taken several years of working collaboratively to get to the stage where we are recognised locally and nationally as a town which is forward-thinking, innovative and worthy of investment.
“There are very many people involved in this, but particular thanks must go to former Mayor Dick Cliffe for all his efforts during his two years in office. Penzance is a fabulous place and this funding gives us the opportunity to develop further projects which will help ensure that our town centre has a great future… there is much still to do, but it is amazing what can be achieved when enough people work together in the common interest…‘Love Penzance’.”
Local councillor for Penzance Central Cornelius Olivier said: “I am delighted that the hard work from our local community means that we are a step closer to securing this funding for Penzance – and seeing improvements to some of Penzance High Street’s most iconic buildings which will benefit the town and its residents for years to come.”
The council is now developing a full business case using a resource funding grant provided by the fund.
Cornwall Council portfolio holder for Culture, Economy and Planning Bob Egerton said: “Penzance High Street deserves this funding and we are delighted that, with the strong support from the local community, we have been able to put forward a strong bid that has reached the next round for consideration.
“We are very pleased that Penzance now has an exciting opportunity to progress to the next stage and we will work hard to ensure its success.”