Future High Streets Fund Trowbridge
The Future High Streets Fund is a central government programme aimed at renewing and reshaping town centres and high streets in a way that drives growth, improves the experience for everyone visiting the town centre, and ensures a sustainable future.
In 2021 Wiltshire Council was awarded £16,347,056 to develop a range of projects in Trowbridge.
Wiltshire Council is developing each project being funded via the Future High Streets Fund investment. As each project is at a different stage, local people will be kept updated on progress at appropriate times.
From Wednesday 16 November to Wednesday 30 November 2022 people were able to give their comments on the proposed design options for enhancing the River Biss and improving public spaces in Trowbridge town centre. This period of engagement kicked off with a public drop-in event held on 16 November 2022.
You can view the FHSF Trowbridge presentation, which details the proposed design options, on our YouTube Channel:
This feedback will help shape the final designs and ensure we deliver the right improvements for Trowbridge town centre.
A public drop-in event was held on 20 October 2022 so the local community could find out more about the refurbishment and remodelling of Trowbridge Town Hall, and see the stunning artist illustrations of how the building could look once the works were completed. This was held just prior to the planning application being submitted, which would provide the formal route for people to comment on the proposals.
During the period from 27 January to 11 February 2022, local people were invited to give their views and ideas on the emerging work, as well as their opinion on various aspects of the town centre which would help inform future initiatives.
The accompanying presentation gives an overview of what each project is about, what we are proposing to do, and what each project aims to achieve. Local people were encouraged to view the presentation before providing their feedback.
View the FHSF Trowbridge presentation video: YouTube: Future High Streets Funded projects to reinvigorate Trowbridge town centre - Wiltshire Council.
An online webinar was held with key stakeholders, followed by a live online webinar on 31 January 2022 at 6pm for residents and the local community. This explained the proposals in more detail and involved a questions and answers session. A recording of the webinar can be viewed online: YouTube: public webinar on 31 January 2022 Future High Streets Funded projects in Trowbridge.
Projects in Trowbridge
The projects being funded by Future High Streets Funding include pedestrian and public space enhancements in the town centre, improvements to the River Biss corridor, vacant commercial unit grant, the renovation of the Town Hall, and seeking a new use for Market Chambers (the old Wetherspoons).
Pedestrian improvements in the town centre
We are proposing to improve the pedestrian arrival points and access to the town centre to:
- Improve the experience of walking into and around the town centre
- Facilitate safer and accessible movement through to the town centre
- Improve wayfinding (how people navigate through the town centre)
We are focusing on the following five areas:
The proposal is to provide improved space for pedestrians. This will be achieved by widening footpaths using similar materials to the previous enhancements, with the aim of providing an improved link for pedestrians to the town centre and railway station. The proposal will also link into the work being developed as part of the River Biss corridor scheme. Whereas the original bid proposal sought to remove traffic from Fore street and Wicker Hill, this proposal retains the route for traffic, but allows the opportunity for this heritage area of the town centre to become a gateway for visitors and a vibrant commercial street.
This is a well utilised route into the town centre for pedestrians from the Sainsbury's store, and the aim is to further improve this connection by opening up the area in front of Manvers House. This could be achieved by the removal of the existing wall and some of the vegetation that currently blocks the view to Manvers house. These features also act as a pinch point in the footway, particularly in the area at the bus stops. Again, there is an opportunity to provide a better relationship with the town centre through the use of materials which match those used in previous enhancements.
This was once a busy junction, prior to the opening of County Way, but the current traffic signals are no longer needed for managing traffic flow as they reach the end of their serviceable life.
This presents the opportunity to remove them and carry out public realm improvements to enhance this area, which is a key pedestrian route into the town centre from developments north of the town centre and the Church Street car park.
As the junction falls within a conservation area where many listed buildings are located, including St James Church, the improvements will be in keeping with the conservation area status and provide an enhanced setting for these key historic features as well as improving the facilities for pedestrians accessing the town centre.
Work to provide these public realm and road network improvements at this junction began on 31 October 2022. It is anticipated that works will be completed in March 2023, with resurfacing of the road scheduled to take place later that month too.
Phases A and B were completed during 2022 and phase C was completed in January 2023. Works began on phases D and E on 30 January 2023 and are being carried out at the same time. This page will be updated as the project progresses.
These phases are now complete and have seen the removal of the traffic signal equipment and associated islands. Works have taken place on the north-western footpath in Church Street and Union Street with kerb renewal, footpath resurfacing with new paving and the installation of a new pedestrian refuge island. A new dropped kerb crossing with tactile paving has been provided across the access into St James Rectory. Work has also begun to improve street lighting in the area, ensuring all lighting columns are heritage style, in keeping with the conservation area status.
This phase is now complete and involved widening the footpath on the eastern side of Union Street, between the Wiltshire Islamic Cultural Centre and the junction with Church Street, where it ties-in to the existing paved footpath surface. In addition to being widened, creating additional space for pedestrians, the footpath will be surfaced with concrete paving to match that already present in Church Street.
Works have now started on phase D which includes the widening and resurfacing of the footpath between Church Walk and St James Church. The area directly in front of the church gate will be altered to provide significant additional space, including a dedicated area for funeral and wedding cars. An informal crossing point for pedestrians will also be installed. The existing traditional stone paving between the churchyard and Church Street car park will be carefully removed and relaid outside of the churchyard access to tie-in with the path through the churchyard.
The footpath between the church and car park will also be widened and resurfaced, linking to the pedestrian refuge island provided in Phase A.
During this phase, parking on Church Street will be temporarily suspended but the road will remain open to traffic and businesses will be open as usual. Access to the church through the main access may be restricted at times and we will be working closely with the church and town council to manage this and mitigate impact on any church services.
Footpath widening on Church Street means some changes to the existing parking arrangements are needed. This will see the existing parking bay moved further into Church Street, with some changes to disabled parking including extending the time allowed for parking in the disabled bay from 2 hours to 3 hours. These changes were subject to legal consultation during August and September 2022 as part of the Traffic Regulation Order process. A report outlining the comments received and decision to proceed with the regulatory changes and public realm improvement can be found at Decision - HTW 23-2022 - Church Street Union Street Trowbridge - Public Realm Improvement | Wiltshire Council
A temporary road closure is in place from 31 January 2023, for a maximum of five days, on the section of Church Street between Duke Street and Union Street. This is to ensure that the new kerb line can be safely excavated and new kerbs laid without conflict with moving traffic. During this time, a diversion route will be in place with the bus gate on Roundstone Street being temporarily revoked. Emergency access will be maintained. We appreciate your patience during this time.
Works have now started on phase E which will see the widening of the footpath across the frontage of Church Street car park along with the provision of dropped kerb tactile paving crossings across the two accesses into the car park.
Following completion of all engineering works in the phases above, road resurfacing will take place during March 2023. This will be undertaken in the evenings with evening road closures in place to allow surfacing to be carried out. More information about phasing and duration of the surfacing will be made available in due course. Emergency access will be retained throughout.
Following the building of the St Stephens Place complex with its cinema, restaurants and other attractors, Castle Street now acts as a key pedestrian link from this development into the town centre. Previous enhancement schemes did not extend into Castle Street and it can feel a little detached from the town centre. The intention is to enhance Castle Street and reinforce the connection between the Saint Stephens place complex and the town centre. It will not be possible to remove traffic from Castle Street given the need to service businesses, but there is the opportunity to provide improvements for pedestrians by reviewing footpath widths and using materials as to define this pedestrian corridor.
This provides access into the town centre from the east, and links to the Lovemead Car Park. The council's consultants looking at the broader public realm enhancements have identified the opportunity to provide improved access to the car park through alterations to the current ramp arrangements. They have also suggested the benefit of opening up the view when approaching the town centre to show off the local historic buildings. Other proposed improvements in this area would provide enhanced connections to the cycle link on Hilperton Road, which is currently under construction, and encourage sustainable travel methods into the town. There is also the opportunity to provide improvements for pedestrians by reviewing footpath widths and using materials to reinforce the pedestrian route along the length of Roundstone Street.
Wayfinding and public space enhancements - 'Trowbridge Trail'
Initially, two strategic pieces of work will be undertaken:
- Develop a strategy for 'Bringing Out the Best' of Trowbridge that identifies the town's unique points and destinations
- Develop a strategy for 'Connecting the Dots', to include the implementation of a new signage scheme to showcase the town centre's heritage, improve links, and encourage movement around the town centre
From this work we will design and implement the 'Trowbridge Trail', focusing on improving the public environment in the town centre, creating safer, easier and more accessible movement, and encouraging Trowbridge to be a place that people want to visit and spend time in.
This project will:
- Deliver exemplary environmental improvements along the River Biss corridor between Town Bridge and Castle Street Bridge
- Enhance and expand the existing river corridor and connect Trowbridge to its river
- Make Trowbridge a pleasant place to walk and cycle, increasing visiting time and encouraging footfall.
The proposed improvements include creating new paths, pocket parks, planting trees, installing lighting and benches to improve green infrastructure and increase wellbeing and amenity value.
The investment from the Future High Streets Fund will bring the Grade II listed building back into use so it can host a full and vibrant programme of community-led cultural and social activities for the people of Trowbridge, enabling it to fulfil its potential as a landmark asset for the town.
The proposals include:
- Improving the accessibility into and within the building
- Reducing the carbon emissions required to run the building
- Improving the community spaces and amenities in the Town Hall
- Restoring the building to its pre-1970s glory as a destination for events in the heart of Trowbridge
The planning application and a Listed Building Consent application to refurbish and remodel the Grade II listed Town Hall has been submitted to Wiltshire Council, as Local Planning Authority and is now available to view and for public comment on our website at development.wiltshire.gov.uk. Enter planning application number PL/2022/08637.
The deadline for comment is 9 December 2022. The planning application will be determined early in 2023.
We are exploring the potential to bring Market Chambers (Old Wetherspoons pub) back into use, so that it can become a focal point in the high street once again. We are undertaking a feasibility study for Market Chambers, which may be refurbished as part of the programme of works.
We have been providing a discretionary grants programme which offers funding to businesses and organisations to bring vacant commercial units back into use. We will support the refurbishment of vacant commercial units to encourage independent businesses and start-ups and encourage the conversion of upper floors of commercial premises, creating additional residential accommodation.
This grants scheme was launched on 20 September 2022 and closed for applications at 5pm on 31 July 2023. To find out more information, visit Vacant Commercial Units Fund.
Frequently asked questions
The projects funded through the Future High Streets Fund complement the wider plans for Trowbridge, and support the aspirations in the Trowbridge Masterplan 2014. The Masterplan is split into Part 1 and Part 2 and can be viewed at Regeneration.
Each project is at a different stage but the more visible works will start in 2023.
The Future High Streets Fund programme runs until March 2024, although delivery can extend beyond, for example where there is co-funding.
This formed part of the original ambition. However, given the complexity of delivery within the funding timescales, the two-way traffic aspect has been deferred and the council is proposing to focus instead on improving the pedestrian arrival points and access to the town centre. This is not to say that scheme cannot be implemented at a later date.
Trowbridge Town Hall is a Grade II listed building at the heart of the town. It is owned by Wiltshire Council and run by Trowbridge Town Hall Trust, an independent charity, as a culture and civic hub.
In its early days it housed a library, courts, and cells. The local community came here for dances, concerts, and performances.
Since 2012, the Town Hall has been run by a charity, The Town Hall Trust, reanimating the historic building as the buzzing creative heart of Trowbridge, welcoming around 50,000 visits a year through its historic doors.
Trowbridge Town Hall Trust was established following a public meeting in 2012. As an independent charity, its aim is to restore the historic Town Hall for the people of the town, creating a home for culture and community.
The Trust has a board of 12 trustees, two of whom are elected annually from the membership. It is free to become a member of the Town Hall Trust.
The Trust's vision is for a creative, confident, and cohesive town. Its purpose is to secure the future of the historic town hall as a place that benefits the inhabitants of the town.
The money will be invested into a number of areas including:
- Repairs - Essential repairs will be made to the outside of the building, including repairs to the external stonework and the roof, ensuring the Town Hall's place at the heart of the town, and its heritage, is maintained.
- Community - The aim is to return the historic Great Hall to its original dimensions, enabling the ability to hold concerts and events for up to 350 people. There will be additional smaller spaces in the building for community and cultural activity.
- Improve access - Access to, and around the building, will be improved to make it more accessible to those with disabilities.
- Maintenance - The building will be upgraded generally to achieve lower maintenance and running costs
Yes. This is most likely as it will be both highly disruptive and costly to keep the Town Hall (or discreet parts of it) open during the renovations. So, we will most likely be closing the doors, in which case activities that currently take place at the Town Hall will relocate to other facilities to recreate the Town Hall experience in the town centre.