Torquay has been offered a Town Deal and will submit detailed business cases to unlock an incredible £21.9m investment from the Towns Fund to drive economic regeneration in the town.
It provides Torquay with a once in a generation opportunity to bring about significant change with a focus on the town centre. The funding will be used to deliver innovative regeneration and transformational projects set out in the Torquay Town Investment Plan.
The projects within the investment plan will provide a better mix of uses, creating an improved experience and greater footfall in the town centre, support growth in public transport and are expected to attract additional private sector investment into the town.
One of the projects that would benefit from investment is Torquay Pavilion, where the Council will work with MDL to bring about repairs to the building.
There will also be improvements to Torquay Harbour public realm, with investment into the paving, seating and lighting. Other projects include a new rail station at Edginswell, and mixed use regeneration at key locations in the town centre. Investment is also planned for Upton Park, Rock Walk and Princess Gardens to improve the environment in those areas through better lighting, seating and at Upton Park improving the facilities within the park.
The Torquay Town Deal Board asked for £25m from the Government’s Towns Fund and have been awarded up to £21.9m that the Board have been invited to submit bids for and will meet the objectives set out in the plan. The total development cost of the projects in the Town Investment Plan is an estimated £135m.
The Towns Fund aims to unleash the economic success of towns and high streets across the country, levelling up communities and ensuring everyone can contribute to and benefit from economic growth.
The decision to award the funding comes just two weeks after an announcement of accelerated funding of £750,000 to bring some of the projects forward immediately.
Councillor Darren Cowell, Deputy Leader of Torbay Council, said: “This is a huge and timely boost for Torquay. To receive £21.9m from the Towns Fund acknowledges the challenges in the town and the opportunities the Town Investment Plan creates. Together, with partners, now is the time to deliver our ambitious plans for Torquay. With transformation of the town centre we will build a prosperous future for the town.”
Councillor Swithin Long, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Tourism and Housing, said: “Preparation to deliver the investment plan has started following the award of accelerated funding. Knowing that Government has confidence in our plans and want the detailed bids means we can resolve the bigger challenges in the town, addressing key locations. The projects will help transform Torquay’s economic growth prospects, with a focus on improved transport, broadband connectivity, skills and culture which will also benefit the whole of Torbay.”
The fund provides a great opportunity to bring transformational investment into Torquay capitalising on naturally inspiring cultural and heritage assets and strengths in the health, hi tech and tourism sectors.
The first business cases will be submitted to Government in the first quarter of 2021 with the physical works on the projects likely to start within 3-6months of the submission.
The plans and proposals build on the lobbying work by Torbay Together and have been heavily informed by the Neighbourhood Plan.
Vince Flower, Chairman of the Town Board, said: “In securing the Town Deal we can now capitalise on the recent private investment being made and really make a difference to the town and community we serve. Delivering the Town Investment Plan is crucial to bringing in much needed funding and investment to Torbay, and with the impact of COVID-19 the need for this is now even more critical than ever. The projects in the plan have been chosen for their impact in the short and medium term and also their ability to be brought forward at pace. I’m grateful to the Town Board for their enthusiastic commitment and engagement that has led the development of a plan worthy of the Towns Fund investment. I’d also like to thank the community for their contributions to the neighbourhood plan and the Mytown website which has helped shape our submission.”
Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall said: “Our high streets are changing and Torquay is no different – in order for our town centres to continue to be attractive places to live, work and play we need to keep up with changes in the way people shop.
That’s why I’m delighted to announce a Town Deal worth up to £21.9m for Torquay which will allow the council to revitalise the town centre and address some of these challenges head on.
“This will make the town centre a better experience for those living, working and visiting, creating more office spaces and places to live, and improving transport links so people can more easily get in.
“We are making sure that every area of the country benefits from our shared prosperity, so we can unlock jobs and opportunity for local people in all of our regions.”
To find out more about the Torquay Towns Fund visit: www.torbay.gov.uk/torquay-towns-fund