Great Yarmouth submits £25m Town Deal bid for vision to take Our Place to the next stage
Great Yarmouth has submitted a major bid for national investment to deliver an exciting £60m vision supporting economic regeneration, recovery, jobs and growth across the borough's main urban areas.
With lots already underway, including major seafront and town centre regeneration, the area is applying for nearly £25m of Government investment, known as a 'Town Deal', covering Great Yarmouth, Gorleston and Bradwell, which will act as a catalyst to lever in further investment from a range of other sources.
With a focus on attracting further investment, driving economic regeneration and recovery, the ambition is to take Our Place to the next stage: to re-invent public places, to tap into and grow a thriving arts and cultural scene, to support new homes, nurture new jobs, businesses and new opportunities to learn and grow, to make our people, businesses and visitors proud.
Over the last 18 months, a diverse Town Deal Board of local ambassadors from private, public and third sector organisations, including strategic thought leaders, investors and entrepreneurs, academics and creatives, has worked closely with the borough council to develop the application, shaping it through feedback from two public surveys and discussions with young people and businesses about community needs and priorities.
After careful consideration of public feedback, which demonstrated strong community support for the exciting vision, investment is sought from Government towards projects across four interlocking themes: Regeneration & Business Development, Skills & Aspiration, Arts, Culture & Tourism, and Connectivity & Sustainability.
In the local survey, 80% of nearly 400 respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the Town Investment Plan provides the right mix of priorities and ideas to make it a more attractive place to live, work, invest and create in. An overwhelming majority agreed that the investment themes are important or very important.
Key projects for which funding is sought include:
- A new Learning Centre and University campus, co-located with a new town centre library, offering more ways and opportunities for people of all ages to take their learning and job prospects to the next stage, to access training and qualifications, while meeting the skills needs of local growth sectors and employers.
- A new operations and maintenance centre of excellence with business incubator units at South Denes, unlocking and enabling further inward investment by the energy sector and providing a low-risk local base for energy sector start-ups, relocations and growing businesses.
- Restoration and sustainable repurposing of a number of historic buildings, including restoration of the nationally-significant Winter Gardens as a year-round seafront attraction and restoration and adaptation of the Ice House as a National Centre for Arts and Circus.
- Enhancements to the rail station gateway and North Quay to improve the accessibility and attractiveness of this key point of entry for commuters and visitors, as well as improved pedestrian and cycle links between the town centre and seafront, along with enhanced public Wi-Fi infrastructure.
Henry Cator, chairman of the Town Deal Board and High Steward of Great Yarmouth, said: "These are times of challenge and opportunity. Our residents and communities are at the heart of our ambition to realise a vibrant and inclusive coastal economy that builds upon our successes and our strengths in clean energy and culture, capitalises upon our natural assets, heritage and attractions and responds to emerging cultural and technological challenges.
"Working collaboratively, we will use the Government funding to attract wider investment, support recovery, job prospects and rebalancing of our economy, and realise transformational changes, to drive aspiration and pride-in-place. From initial national feedback, we are confident we've put together a robust bid. We expect to hear the outcome in the New Year and the next stage will be to work up a detailed business case for submission during 2021."
Cllr Carl Smith and Cllr Trevor Wainwright, leaders of the council's main political groups, said: "As a council, we're doing everything we can with our partners to invest in our place, and the prospect of £25m of area-based investment is needed more than ever, to support further investment, economic regeneration and job prospects for communities.
"Partnership work on this important bid has progressed as a priority during the pandemic, as significant national investment is critical to staging the revitalisation of Great Yarmouth, complementing other key investments including our £26m new Marina Centre which is now being built, the £120m Third River Crossing starting in January, and our Future High Streets Fund bid to support town centre regeneration.
"We would like to thank the diverse and high calibre professionals and place leaders on the Town Deal Board who have generously given up their time and expertise to work with the council to shape a robust bid, as well as the hundreds of people who took part in surveys and focus groups to help ensure the Investment Plan meets local priorities."
Brandon Lewis, Great Yarmouth's MP, said: "The Town Deal is another fantastic opportunity to win more investment for our town. The application makes a compelling case for nearly £25m of funding; helping to push forward a vision of Great Yarmouth fit for the challenges of the modern age. As the Member of Parliament for Great Yarmouth, I passionately support this bid and look forward to banging the drum for it in Westminster."
Discover more at www.futuregreatyarmouth.co.uk