Well done, Penzance! Town wins £10.4M of revival cash
Penzance’s MP Derek Thomas discusses the economic development of the town with Penzance BID manager Jess Morris.
11th May 2021
By Juliet Lunam
Penzance is in line for a £10.4 million facelift after winning a share of the government’s Future High Streets Fund.
Cornwall Council’s bid for the cash, supported by local groups and businesses, includes a mix of schemes to regenerate the town and tackle the challenges it faces.
The money will help deliver a wide range of improvements to the town’s high street to benefit residents and businesses, including housing, workspace and the regeneration of vacant properties. And the aim is to build on other investment schemes including the council’s commitment to build a new creative industries hub in the heart of the town.
Cornwall Council cabinet member for economy, Tim Dwelly, said the bid was the result of hard work by partners and stakeholders, the Penzance Place Shaping Board and Regeneration Group.
He added: “Penzance has a lot to offer residents and visitors but as with many towns, covid has accelerated long term trends, such as online shopping, and this has contributed to a decline in the vitality of the high street.
“This funding gives us the opportunity for the community, businesses and organisations to come together to deliver on projects which will pave the way for a brighter future where business and community meet, jobs are created, and businesses grow.”
Chairman of the Penzance Future High Streets Panel, Cllr Jim McKenna, welcomed the news: “Subject to final confirmation, this funding is great news for Penzance and a reflection of the determination and commitment given by many people in our town to make it happen.
“Particular thanks go to the Cornwall Council officers who have worked so hard on the application process, together with the BID and Chamber of Commerce and others.
“The fact that Penzance is the only town in Cornwall to receive Town Deal funding is evidence not only of the need we have to reinvigorate our high street 'post-Covid' but also the fact our collective, collaborative approach has paid off.”
And Cornelius Olivier, Cornwall Councillor for Penzance Central said he was particularly pleased about the opportunity to meet housing needs.
He added: “I also strongly support the objective of diversifying the local economy in order to make us less reliant on seasonal visitors.”
The council will now work with partners, stakeholders and businesses in Penzance to accelerate projects supported by this funding.
Road to recovery: the Future High Streets Fund
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick announced in December 2020 that up to £830 million from the Future High Streets Fund would be invested in 72 areas across England. The funding aimed to help these areas transform their high streets into vibrant hubs for future generations and to protect and create thousands of jobs.
The government said this was a key milestone for its levelling up agenda, helping areas to recover from the pandemic while also driving long term growth.
Ministers announced that it would “enable the delivery of ambitious regeneration plans, drawn up by places, and fund new local projects such as improvements to transport infrastructure, new homes and the transformation of underused spaces”.
Communities Secretary Mr Jenrick said at the time: “The year ahead will be a big one for the high street as it seeks to recover, adapt and evolve as a result of the pandemic.
“Today’s £830 million investment from the Future High Streets Fund is one of many ways the government is working to help our much-loved town centres get through this and prosper into the future.
“The role of high street has always evolved. We want to support that change and make sure that they are the beating heart of their local community – with high quality housing and leisure in addition to shops and restaurants.
“This investment will help us build back better and make town centres a more attractive place to live, work and visit.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said: “We are supporting our high streets to get through this pandemic through business grants, paying people’s wages and tax deferrals.
The Future High Streets Fund will help areas bounce back through regeneration projects that level up opportunities and create jobs right across the country.”
Ministers said the aim of the Future High Streets Fund was to renew and reshape town centres and high streets in a way that drives growth, improves experience and ensures future sustainability. It would do this, the government said, by providing co-funding to successful applicants to support transformative and structural changes to overcome challenges in their area.