Local residents invited to have their say on future for Kingswood High Street

The local MP for Kingswood Chris Skidmore is encouraging local residents to have their say on ambitious and exciting plans for the future of Kingswood High Street as part of South Gloucestershire Council's public engagement.

The Council has recently launched a month-long engagement for local residents to submit their comments on proposals to revitalise Kingswood High Street. This will be open until midnight on 7 June. Residents across South Gloucestershire have been invited to share their thoughts on these projects which aim at delivering a new public realm that respects and enhances Kingswood’s rich heritage and creates a destination where people want to live, work and enjoy a variety of leisure and retail activities while appreciating the heritage and culture on offer.

The Council has been asked to submit their final proposals for Kingswood by 30 June 2020 as part of their bid for funding from the Future High Streets Fund which was announced by Government in October 2018, and which could see successful High Streets secure between £5m - £25m for the project. This follows from the separate ‘Love our High Streets’ initiative funded by the West of England Combined Authority, and the successful submission of a detailed Expression of Interest supported by local stakeholders and business groups.
 
The plans are centred around Regent Street and the adjacent Whitfield Tabernacle Conservation Area where £682,000 of funding was awarded by the West of England Combined Authority in December 2019 to stabilise the building and open it to members of the public. 

Chris Skidmore MP is supporting the Council which is now seeking to secure the additional funding needed to restore and transform the Tabernacle into a Performance Arts Centre and Cultural Cinema, while the neighbouring Masters Church is converted into 19 apartments and the cemetery is transferred to the Council to create a new public open space. 

South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning, Transport and Strategic Environment, Cllr Steve Reade said: “This is an exciting opportunity to rejuvenate Kingswood and breathe new life into the High Street and surrounding areas and I encourage everyone to have their say during our public engagement.

“We see our high streets and our local communities as critical infrastructure in the COVID-19 recovery phase and having transferred significant resource into meeting the challenge of that emergency, we are now keen to be promoting and investing in the recovery. The Future High Streets Fund presents a timely opportunity for this and we are keen to hear from residents, business and other organisations.

“The future vision for Kingswood is ambitious and sets out to re-model the area as a cultural hub with an array of retail, residential, business and leisure options which would boost the local economy and have a significant impact on not just the local community, but the whole of South Gloucestershire for generations to come.”  

Chris Skidmore, Member of Parliament for Kingswood, said: "It's great to see continuing momentum to give our area the high street and town centre it deserves and follows on from the recent meeting I arranged with the government's High Streets Minister Simon Clarke to put forward Kingswood's case. I would urge residents to share their views as this will strengthen the final funding bid that goes into government, which, if successful, will unlock so many opportunities for local residents and business."

To have your say on these proposals, please visit the Council's website page at https://www.southglos.gov.uk/FutureKingswood and complete the online survey. Alternatively, you can request a postal survey by calling the Council's Consultation Team on 01454 868154.