Almost £500,000 has been released to ‘love’ Kingswood High Street, delighting the area’s local MP.
A £10million Love Our High Streets initiative was created by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) at the end of last year – and Kingswood was named as the priority location by the Conservative Mayor and Conservative Council Leader.
Now £248,000 has been released from this WECA fund with match-funding of £215,000 from Conservative-run South Gloucestershire Council and will pay for:
- A new Green Machine street sweeper, 30 new litter bins and extra money for street cleaning;
- Development of a Heritage Lottery Fund submission for investment in Kingswood Park, replicating the success of the approach taken with nearby Page Park in Staple Hill where visitor numbers have surged since a multi-million pound transformation;
- A senior planning officer to take forward the master-planning of the High Street to provide new housing and employment opportunities, but also delivering strategies for the future of the heritage, green space and public realm.
Further funding releases will be made in due course to support the regeneration of the Whitfield Tabernacle site and the creation of a Makerspace digital skills training facility, following a community workshop that was held this week with local business and community groups.
Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore said: “Just weeks after the Combined Authority meeting, I’m delighted to see this first release of funding to support Kingswood High Street and get on with addressing the issues that the community has regularly raised with me as the local MP.
The new Green Machine street sweeper, bins and street cleaning responds to resident and trader demands for a tidier and cleaner High Street and will be welcomed locally, as will funding to progress a long-term vision for the future of Kingswood Town Centre.
I am encouraged to hear about the workshop that has been held with local businesses and groups to progress plans to improve access to digital skills training and look forward to funding eventually being released to support the Tabernacle’s restoration.”
Council figures show that increasing numbers of people are now using Page Park and the new café after it secured lottery funding for a major revamp. Visitor counter numbers at the park entrances show approximately 490,000 visits to the park in 2017 - an increase of 90,000 visits compared to when the project started.
Chris added: “Replicating the Page Park approach for our treasured Kingswood Park by working with the community to lever in major investment would lead to a similar transformation of what is a vital and prominent part of the High Street.”