Future High Streets report
The Assistant Director (Communities) updated the Committee on the council's expression of interest for Future High Streets Funding.
An expression of interest for Gravesend Town Centre was submitted by the council by the 22 March 2019 deadline. The challenges facing the Town and a vision and ambition for change are summarised in Appendix 2. The expression of interest was accompanied by a series of letters of support from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership and other partners, including KCC, Thames Gateway Kent Partnership; development partners, such as Reef Estates; and, community and local business interests.
The Government received over 300 expressions of interest from local authorities
and these are currently being assessed against the published criteria. Places
moving to Phase 2 will be announced in Summer 2019.
The first Phase bid for Gravesham is for just over £200,000 (revenue funding)
If Gravesham successfully moves into Phase 2; there is the potential to access between £5million and £10million.
The Chair highlighted that the bid that Gravesham submitted was very robust (about 50 pages) and suggested that Members contact the Assistant Director (Communities) should they wish to view the full bid.
The Chair requested that a link to the parliamentary publication ‘High Streets and Town Centres in 2030’ be placed in the minutes, for Member’s information:
The Committee discussed the council's expression of interest for Future High Streets Funding and made the following views:
· The future of Gravesend Town Centre is very much in our own hands and can be shaped by us. Community leadership is required
· The Council should ask residents views on the town centre and how they would like to shape its future.
· River usage needs better promotion (pontoon, moorings, resident sailing barges etc)
· Build up / promote Gravesham’s heritage assets and history
· Improve tourism in the Borough
· The contribution of the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara to visitor numbers to the Town should be recognised.
· Make greater use of vacant shop windows and explore creation of delivery/collection points for online orders in the town.
· Support river travel between Gravesend and London.
· Consider intensification of housing within the town centre, with scope to retract retail and support changes of use to residential – high quality development that’s high density and close to the centre.
· Consider how to encourage people to the town centre and focus on improving accessibility for all.
· What is the brand for Gravesend?
The Chair highlighted a quote from the House of Commons, Housing and Communities Committee:
Councils should be actively encouraged to develop town centre masterplans and use their powers positively to renew their town centres.
A proposed action from the Housing and Communities Committee is that Government needs to consider introducing a delivery and sales tax on online retailers as a way of putting some of that funding back into Local Authorities for use in Town Centres.
Resolved that the positive transformational opportunities presented by the Future High Streets Fund, with or without a successful outcome for Future High Streets Funding, be noted.
- Future High Streets Fund Report, item 7. PDF 87 KB
- Appendix 2 to Report to Strategic Environment Committe 18 June 2019, item 7. PDF 80 KB