Great Yarmouth Borough Council submits £20m town centre regeneration bid to Government
Great Yarmouth Borough Council is today (Friday, June 5) submitting to Government a bid for £19.9m to help transform and revive Great Yarmouth town centre as a vibrant economic, cultural and community hub.
National investment from the Future High Streets Fund is crucial to deliver the council's exciting £49.2m regeneration package of interventions, which respond to the challenges town centres face by making the most of Great Yarmouth's special strengths, including its cultural heritage and visitor economy, and by diversifying the town centre's offer.
Building upon the Town Centre Masterplan and significant highways improvements already seen at key gateways, the ambition is focussed around introducing more residential, culture and leisure uses, bringing empty buildings back into use, making more of the borough's rich heritage, and improving linkages and sense of arrival from key gateways and the seafront.
Supported by a business case, the exciting vision includes relocating the already popular library to a larger building in a more central location, converting space in empty or under-utilised historic buildings into new homes, building new housing at The Conge and King Street, establishing a new heritage centre and redeveloping the Market Place. This aim is to support town centre sustainability into the future, supporting footfall, further regeneration and investment.
Cllr Carl Smith and Cllr Trevor Wainwright, the leaders of the council's main political groups, said: "Government funding is critical to delivering transformative change for our town centre. We have put together a robust business case and an exciting and cohesive vision for regeneration, including an enhanced library as a new leisure anchor. While all town centres face shrinking retail space and reduced footfall, successful places continually reinvent themselves, using their special strengths as a platform.
"We're seeking to make our town centre sustainable into the future with a wider range of uses, including an enhanced residential, culture and leisure offer, maximising opportunities linked to heritage and modern technologies, as well as by improving links from the railway station via the town centre to the busy leisure hub that is our seafront.
"This vision dovetails with other regeneration work and investment in the borough, including on the seafront, North Quay and Hall Quay, and will hopefully act as a catalyst for further investment. These are exciting times for Great Yarmouth."
County council leader, Cllr Andrew Proctor, said: "Norfolk's libraries already do a lot of great work and they are vital hubs for learning, community activities, tackling loneliness and obtaining training and jobs.
"This is a bold proposal and relocating our library could help even more people as well as playing a crucial role in the future transformation of Great Yarmouth's town centre. The County Council is fully behind the borough council's bid."
Brandon Lewis, Great Yarmouth's MP, said: "The borough council are submitting a strong bid, which would result in transformational change for the Town Centre and I would like to congratulate everyone involved in preparing it. As the Member of Parliament, I have no hesitation to back this bid, and will champion the cause in Westminster."
The council expects to hear on the outcome of the bid later in the year.
The package of interventions
The council is working with Norfolk County Council to explore opportunities to relocate the strong library offer to a more central location, with the potential to later attract even more people and possibly expand the facilities into a learning hub, working with local schools and colleges. Any library move will be subject to funding, public consultation and a suitable building being secured. Initial conversations are underway with the owners of the former Palmers building. We would like to hear what Great Yarmouth Residents want from their local library. A short survey enabled residents to give us their views.
The council has recently submitted a planning application to redevelop The Conge with 89 new homes, providing good quality housing to help meet local needs and create a sense of arrival to the town centre from the railway station. Match funding is sought from the Future High Streets Fund.
The council is also seeking funding towards residential conversion of a number of historic buildings in the Market Place and King Street, which are currently empty or under-utilised. In addition, funding is sought to enable Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust to develop new contemporary houses on eight plots at the rear of King Street, which will improve the street scene and sense of arrival from the car park.
The council is committed to the Market Place redevelopment and is seeking external match funding from the Future High Streets Fund. A planning application has been recently submitted. The investment will see the market facilities significantly improved, with new units under an architecturally-striking canopy, designed to ensure the market is brighter and more inviting.
Under the bid, the Market Square events space will be expanded to support an enhanced cultural and artistic offer, 50 flowering cherry trees will be planted to border the Market Place car park, and there will be further public realm improvements.
Supported by the council, Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust has recently bought the empty former Greenwoods store with plans to convert into a new heritage centre as part of the Future High Streets Fund bid. This will showcase the borough's rich cultural heritage and act as a gateway building for those seeking to explore the borough's history.
Low carbon and digital:
In addition to targeted tree-planting, the council is seeking funding for other green interventions in the town centre, including further electric vehicle charging points, future proofing public transport and digital technologies.