Three projects that received accelerated funding from the Towns Fund for Torquay’s Town Deal will start soon.
Enabling and development works will begin at Upton Park, Princess Gardens and Royal Terrace Gardens ahead of the full works starting as the £750,000 first phase of Town Investment Plan gets underway. These projects will help to revitalise and regenerate the town centre and surrounding areas.
The projects will create an improved experience for people using these spaces and are intended to encourage footfall to these locations. The wider investment plan sets out how the town will use the funds to support long term economic and productivity growth.
Councillor Darren Cowell, Deputy Leader of Torbay Council, said: “These projects are just the start of the exciting transformation of Torquay. By working with our community we now have an opportunity to achieve the major regeneration of Torquay we wanted and to build a prosperous future for the town. The accelerated projects give us an opportunity to make an immediate impact, and Torbay Council and its partners are working hard to deliver this.”
Councillor Swithin Long, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Tourism and Housing, said: “Upton Park, Princess Gardens and Royal Terrace Gardens are three key spaces that can be developed and improved for Torbay’s residents and visitors. Investment in parks and open spaces create thriving communities and provide the opportunity for economic regeneration and growth.”
Investment in Upton Park will bring a variety of social benefits to the community and ensure residents and visitors are able to make best use of the location. Tree works will start immediately to increase light levels, sightlines and enhance the sense of space within the park.
The tree works will include the crown lifting of trees on the boundary of the park and highway. This will mean lower branches will be removed up to a height of eight metres above the ground on mature trees. Such work increases light levels and will help the park feel less oppressive. Trees which are being removed will be replaced with a replanting scheme to change the species diversity and age structure, whilst increasing wildlife potential.
Works to bring the netball facility back into use will follow, and further enhancements of the existing sports facilities. The parks lighting is to be upgraded to a LED system which will further help improve the parks amenities and help with a sense of space and pride in the park. Footpath and fencing will follow to improve access and enhance amenities and links through and within the space.
Improvements to Princess Gardens and Sunken gardens will provide better access, an event space within the former banjo area, enhanced landscape scheme for the gardens and around the war memorial, upgrading of the promenade lighting and enhanced illuminations.
Investment in Royal Terrace Gardens will include improving the illuminations along the sea front with more creative lighting year-round. By linking Royal Terrace Gardens with Abbey Gardens and Princess Gardens the project will encourage more people to connect with the seafront, visit different locations and offer a boost to night-time economy.
The wider Town Investment Plan targets challenges at key locations, including Torquay Pavilion, and improving transport connections by supporting the Edginswell Rail station. The total development cost of the projects in the Town Investment Plan is an estimated £135 million.
The news of these first enablement works comes at an exciting time for Torbay, with a range of multi-million pound projects coming online. These include £21.9m from the government for Torquay Towns Fund, plus £13.36m announced by the government last month for the Future High Streets Fund for Paignton. This is in addition to a brand new ‘Torquay Gateway’ train station announced for Edginswell area, with £7.8m awarded from Network Rail and Department for Transport for its development. There are also plans to enhance Brixham in line with the Brixham Peninsula Neighbourhood Plan, with key areas earmarked including Harbour regeneration and Brixham Town Centre Car Park redevelopment
Vince Flower, Chairman of the Town Board, said: “It is great to enter the New Year and see these projects start immediately. There will be a lot of activity at these sites and we are preparing some signage to describe and illustrate the impact these projects will have for the town and its communities. Each project within the investment plan will drive forward a better experience in the town centre, provide a better mix of uses, and create a place where people enjoy spending their time.”
To find out more about the Torquay Towns Fund visit: www.torbay.gov.uk/torquay-towns-fund