South Hams District Council Submits Bid For Government Future High Street Fund
By Sofy Robertson
South Hams District Council has agreed to submit a bid for the Government Future High Street Fund for the town of Ivybridge.
This move was triggered by a consultation with residents and Ivybridge Town Council following proposals to build a supermarket on Leonards Road Car park in Ivybridge.
Some residents and members of the Town Council were concerned at the potential loss of town centre parking which led to the proposals being temporarily paused while the District Council conducted research with residents and businesses.
Cllr John Tucker, Leader of South Hams District Council, explained:
“After we paused these proposals, we spent a day in the town talking to many different people. Those who park in the car park and those who live, shop and work in the town.
“Overall the findings were fascinating, there was not one single viewpoint and lots of mixed feelings about the proposals. Many people said that they would welcome a discount supermarket and said that the town desperately needed it, while others were worried about the impact this might have on existing shops.
“Other people said they agreed that the car parks were full, but not with shoppers. Concerns were raised that people were using the car parks for work, which meant that few spaces were available for shoppers.
“Generally, we learnt a lot and there was a strong feeling from many that something needed to be done, they just weren’t sure how or what.” (South Hams District Council)
South Hams District Council is now proposing that the supermarket form part of a bigger scheme that looks at the whole town centre experience of Ivybridge.
The recently announced Future High Street Fund invites councils to put forward bids for a share of £675 million worth of funding. Each successful project could be awarded up to £25m to support regeneration, innovation, transport, housing and public services in their town centre.
The Council’s Head of Place Making has met with representatives from Ivybridge Town Council, the Neighbourhood Plan team, the Chamber of Commerce, local businesses and developer stakeholders along with the local MP to agree the need and scope for a bid and are now on course to submit their expression of interest.
After sharing the revised car park proposals with the Ivybridge representatives, it has been agreed that the proposal should be included within the expression of interest for funding as this will show the scale of the town centre improvements that are possible.