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Levelling Up Fund bid proposals revealed

Published: Wednesday, 1 June, 2022

Plans are underway to submit a £15m-plus bid to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund which would see a series of exciting new projects improve Stroud for everyone.

Stroud District Council’s Strategy and Resources Committee is being asked to approve the submission of the bid that represents a rare opportunity to rejuvenate highly visible areas in Stroud that are holding the town and the wider area back, through issues of poor access, neglect or in some cases, dereliction.

The bid, which has been consulted on extensively, will boost pride in place, transforming spaces and creating attractive destinations to increase vitality and prosperity for residents, visitors, and businesses.

The investment would be made into three strongly related projects:

  • Gateway Spaces - The rejuvenation and transformation of key spaces into attractive destinations to increase vitality and prosperity for residents, visitors, shoppers and businesses. Places for people to spend time and feel a sense of pride in the town:

Transformation Wallbridge green space

Sub Rooms Town Square

Creation of 11 new affordable business incubator units in Five Valleys Shopping Centre

Purchase of brownfield land for the development of homes

  • Cultural Landmarks - Enhancing our heritage and making venues inclusive and accessible to all, nurturing and realising their full potential and celebrating local distinctiveness to create a vibrant arts scene that supports the visitor economy:

Ramped access and internal improvements to: Lansdown Hall, Subscription Rooms and Brunel Goods Shed.

  • Connections - Making it easier, healthier and safer for pedestrians, cyclists to access all the town has to offer and to support the transition to a low carbon lifestyle, aligning with the Councils commitment to carbon 2030. Improving the connectivity to the routes along the valleys to the wider district:

Improved pedestrian and cycle routes around Wallbridge

Improvements to the end of the Nailsworth to Stroud cycle route at Bath Road, Rodborough

Improvements for cyclists and pedestrians around the town centre

Brunel Mall - opening up the car park to the station to add additional station car parking and reducing the traffic in the town centre

If the Strategy and Resources Committee approves the bid package next week, the bid will be submitted by July 6.

Stroud District Council Leader Doina Cornell said the money from the Levelling Up Fund would be the start of even bigger things to come.

“This is a high impact and highly visible package of measures that will transform poorly used, neglected and in some cases derelict spaces and make them great places to be proud of,” she said.

“It will give a boost to our much-loved cultural venues, making them more accessible.  It will stimulate investment and jobs and create a strong path to a safer, cleaner and greener future.”

All the changes and developments have originated from extensive consultation carried out by the partner agencies (full details are on our website).

Chair of the Stroud and District Chamber of Trade, Tony Davey said it’s about creating the right environment for the town to grow.

“We know that Stroud is a great place to work, live and visit but we also know it has potential to be so much more,” he said.

“We want to create an environment where we stimulate a thriving economy, new jobs and a reason for future industry to choose our district as a place to invest.”

Stroud town mayor Stella Parkes is backing the bid and says the town needs to work for everyone:

“The town centre already has so much to offer our communities and, with the right investment, it could open up to new communities who currently can’t access the facilities. 

“Stroud should have something for EVERYONE and that is what our application to the Levelling Up fund is aiming to do.”

Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie said:

"It is fantastic that the Government is investing in communities around the country through the Levelling Up Fund. The process is extremely competitive, and many areas have been campaigning for some time so it will be great to get going once the council has made decisions for Stroud. 

"I am pleased that after interventions from myself and the GFirstLEP, the bid is now including new clear employment elements. 

"Given how much pressure there is on small businesses after the pandemic and with costs rising, a focus on using public funds to increase job opportunities locally and getting people into our towns to spend money in local shops has to be a priority. 

"I have also asked for the transport section to be looked at again so that local people who use buses and other transport will see improvements as well as those who walk or cycle. This obviously takes into account support for the elderly, disabled and also families who want to do bigger shops."

Director for Dransfield Properties, Andrew Malley, said:

“The creation of jobs and bolstering economic prosperity is the cornerstone of any successful town. Incubation offices will be a key part of this to nurture start-up businesses leading to growth in the job market. We support the council's efforts in bringing these to fruition.

County Councillor for Stroud Central, David Drew, said the transport links are a crucial part of the bid.

“Getting into our town and moving around it safely on foot or by bicycle is important to everyone.  We’ve run some modelling and we know the routes which are regularly used with a high footfall,” he said.

“Our bid aims to make this more accessible, safer and connected.”

Neil Walker from Stroud Valley Arts says the bid is vital to ensuring the town’s cultural landmarks are preserved for future generations:

“Stroud has a rich cultural history and its buildings play a huge part in that,” he said. “Some of our communities already make fantastic use of our buildings like The Goods Shed but accessibility remains a big problem. This money would allow us to level the playing field for everyone by not just making the buildings accessible but truly inclusive for all users.”

The committee will meet on Thursday, June 9 - the report under consideration can be read at https://stroud.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=137&MId=1362

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