This month’s update is a brief one and highlights that the hard work on delivering the projects has started in earnest.
The first thing to confirm is that the outline Heads of Terms have been signed and returned to MHCLG in accordance with the agreed timeline.
The next step is to finalise the prioritised project list. Our submission was for £33m, which was more than we could apply for, we now need to whittle it down to the £25m that we have been allocated. This was a strategy recommended by our Government advisors which has secured us the maximum funding.
The projects have all been reviewed and scored. The Innovation and Collaboration Incubator (ICI) project has not made it on to the final list, although it is still very much a key project in the Town Investment Plan. Two of the projects have changed significantly – the road bridge that was to be part of the Parkway Development at Gaywood is no longer in the plan. £5m had been earmarked for this element. Instead, the Active and Clean connectivity project has been reworked into a multi-modal scheme which will improve walking and cycling, improve public transport and more of the money will be allocated to the gyratory project.
Clearly these changes will need to be finally approved by the Town Deal Board and discussions will need to take place with MHCLG. There is a clear process in place for adjusting projects. We just need to confirm whether this constitutes a formal change now or whether it can be dealt with at the final Business Casestage.
The Multi-user community hub remains a key project and is seen as a project that could be a catalyst for real change both in terms of improving access to services, new skills and training opportunities for local people, increasing footfall to the town centre and transforming a vacant prominent town centre site. Funding for this project is also being sought from the Community Renewal Fund.
The Guildhall Complex, Town Centre Repurposing, Youth and retraining pledge, public realm fund and riverfront regeneration all remain on the proposed projects priorities list.
Over the next few weeks these will be firmed up further in readiness for final submissions stage, after which the projects should remain unchanged.
Once the final submissions have been approved, we will have until 30 June 2022to work up the detailed business cases for each project, so as I am sure you can imagine there is a lot of work to be done by then
The next few weeks will be crucial in getting the confirmations of each project finalised and agreed by Government. Then the real work will start in earnest on site to deliver the schemes by March 2026.