More for Yeovil and Taunton
More money under the the Future High streets Fund has been announced by Government. A further £830m is being given to towns up and down the country. This is separate from the 101 towns who bid for funds earlier last year. That included two Somerset communities, Glastonbury and Bridgwater. Their plans are being developed under the New Towns Deal.
This current announcement includes towns that missed out on the New Towns Deal. 15 towns have been announced which will receive funding for specific projects. However none of these are in Somerset.
A further 57 towns are in advanced discussions with Government on plans which will today receive provisional funding offers. These include money for Yeovil (£9,756,897) and Taunton (£13,962,981). We note with amusement the precise way in which the funds are calculated to the nearest pound!
As yet, these provisional funding announcements include no detail of the plans. The Leveller has repeatedly criticised town centre planning in Somerset. To date it has involved playing with street furniture while retailers collapse and leave empty units behind them. This new money represents a real opportunity. But only if the money is spent on detailed plans for a post retail environment. Something that neither town has really discussed with its residents.