Wiltshire Council submits strong Future High Streets Fund bid for Salisbury and secures SWLEP investment for the city
Wiltshire Council has today (Friday 22 March) submitted a comprehensive expression of interest for the government's Future High Streets Fund to boost regeneration in Salisbury.
The fund allows bids of up to £25m to support high streets as they change to meet the needs and expectations of communities now and in the future.
To ensure the full support of the city before the bid's submission, the council set up engagement meetings with businesses and key partners to present its vision for Salisbury's high streets and gain support, listen to ideas and understand the priorities. Another important aspect of the pre-bid consultation was an online survey, which saw 474 residents give their ideas for what they'd like to see on the city's high streets.
If the expression of interest is successful, there will be a full consultation on the potential projects. Broadly the bid looks to secure the future of the retail, hospitality, leisure and service businesses in Salisbury city centre and focus on the high street experience for residents and visitors, improving the offer to tourists, adding more attractions for young people, and being a fertile ground for businesses to thrive and grow.
In another boost for Salisbury, The Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) has also agreed a further £550,000 of funding for the city.
This funding includes £300,000 plus indicative support for further funding for the development of the Fisherton Gateway project, an ambitious project that would transform the arrival into Salisbury; £250,000 to develop a transport accessibility programme to encourage residents and businesses to shop and spend their time and money in Salisbury; and in principle support to work with the council and Highways England to develop options to reduce congestion on Southampton Road and the A36 college roundabout.
Pauline Church, cabinet member for economic development and South Wiltshire recovery, said: "This is an exciting time for Salisbury, with several major infrastructure projects in the pipeline to improve the city now and for generations to come.
"We have worked closely with partners and the community, and as a result have submitted a strong bid to the Future High Streets Fund, and we hope to hear if we are successful later this year.
"We're also delighted that the SWLEP is continuing to support the city with significant funding that will help to unlock three projects to improve Salisbury for both residents and visitors."
Paddy Bradley, Director of the Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "The Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) Board is committed to supporting the economic recovery of Salisbury and South Wiltshire following the economic shock caused by two major incidents in 2018.
"The SWLEP Board has re-allocated £1.1m from our Local Growth Deal fund to support projects proposed by the South Wiltshire Operations Board which meet the economic outcomes sought by the SWLEP. This is subject to approval of individual elements by the Board, and to date £650,000 has been approved to progress projects included in Wiltshire Council's bid to the Future High Streets Fund.
"These include the second phase of research into proving the concept of the Illuminating Salisbury project, the development of the Fisherton Gateway project and the development of a transformative transport accessibility programme to improve ways into the city by bicycle, walking and bus and once there, to enjoy the retail offer and the benefits of the projects included in this bid."
Salisbury MP John Glen said: "I'm delighted to wholeheartedly support Salisbury's bid into the High Streets Fund.
"Salisbury is taking a long-term view, proposing to revitalise a key gateway to the city, strategically linking the bid to other ongoing projects designed to improve the economic diversity and resilience of the entire city centre. I will be pressing my ministerial colleagues to make sure that we are at the front of the queue for new investment.
"I look forward to the further development of a dynamic bid that builds on existing success stories, drives footfall and equips Salisbury to meet the challenges of the future."
The news comes on the back of a great week for the city, as Openreach announced the start of installation of its new fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband technology in Salisbury, making it the first fully-fibred city in the country. The project will bring significant investment and 24 new jobs to the city.