Our recent High Street Fund bid has been the talk of the town! This exciting opportunity could see our wonderful home town see some vast improvements.
So, what is our vision?
We want what most of our residents want…Trowbridge to be a vibrant place and our high street to be brought back to life. We would like a balanced mix of retail, leisure, cultural, commercial, residential and social provision that is well connected and placed to play a key regional role whilst meeting the day to day needs of local people living and working within a short walk or bike ride to the high street.
What about our carbon neutral mission?
This is a key driver for recovery from Covid-19, with renewed focus on encouraging sustainable travel and making buildings more energy efficient.
We want the days of vacant shop units to be a thing of the past but how can we do this?
- To create a Vacant units fund enabling change of use and associated structural changes to vacant units on the high street. Grants up to £15,000 will be given to successful applicants.
The units will function as pilots to encourage independent businesses and start-ups to set up their businesses in Trowbridge and create a more diverse offer within the town centre.
- Vacant upper floors will be converted to residential homes for young people.
- Existing retail units in Castle Place will be relocated to vacant shops along the high street.
We want to nourish and transform our heritage buildings to create places of culture and leisure, but how?
The refurbishment and extension of the Grade 2 listed Town Hall and adjacent market hall, safeguarding its long-term sustainability and maximising the capacity for the building.
Why do we want to do this? Well, to host an exciting and vibrant full programme of community-led leisure, culture and social activities within the heart of Trowbridge Town Centre.
This project is crucial to develop a unique cultural offer and increase footfall in the core of the town, helping to revive Trowbridge’s poor evening economy.
We want to make the town flow…this means new road and pedestrian systems will be put in place. Where and how will this happen?
- Physical enhancements to enable a safer pedestrian access to the River Biss around the town bridge area.
- Delivery of environmental enhancements and planting to improve accessibility, connectivity and legibility of the town centre.
- Transport improvements to turn the northern gyratory into a two-way traffic system, enabling the pedestrianisation of the high street from the northern gateway.
And lastly, we need to unlock good growth. What does this mean and how could we do it?
It is proposed that we redevelop Castle Place – the Wiltshire Council-owned multi-storey Car Park and shopping area as it has the potential to act as a catalyst of a transformational change in Trowbridge’s town centre.
Within the redevelopment it is proposed a state-of-the-art leisure facility, with an associated wellness/health space, co-working spaces adjacent to high-quality residential and an evening service economy offer will be included.
Together with an improved connectivity to the High Street and across to St. Stephens Place and improved frontages, this proposal would significantly help to diversify the high street, increase its vibrancy and resilience.
How will this bid change Trowbridge?
Ensure future sustainability – By refurbishing the town hall and market hall we will be able to ensure that it is no longer fully dependent on the retail market. By adding leisure facilities, entertainment venues and much more, we will have a much better chance of sustaining our wonderful high street whilst being able to maintain the integrity of our historical assets.
Improving experience – By transforming and developing the town hall and vacant units we will attract new visitors to our high street and reinvigorate the non-existent night-time economy. Improvements at the town centre gateways and the high street will make visits to enjoy culture, leisure and shopping a much safer, legible and enjoyable experience.
Drives growth – the changes will tackle long-standing constraints that are preventing residential and leisure growth at Castle place. Our vacant units fund will also incentivise the network of local landowners to bring vacant units back into use to diversify the offer in the town centre, driving greater footfall and improving dwell time.
Is this a done deal?
Absolutely not. This is a bid and we are not guaranteed to be accepted for this town changing fund.
If we are lucky enough to be successful, any plans would be subject to full engagement and consultation before going ahead.
Councillor Richard Clewer, Deputy Leader of Wiltshire Council, said:
“At present, we’re in the early days of developing the scheme, so it is not correct to say that the town will lose free parking spaces as the result of the bid being submitted. We’re looking at a number of possibilities that could help to transform Trowbridge town centre, and to secure the funding.
If the bid is successful, this would represent more than £23m of investment into Trowbridge, which we think is a positive move.
However, none of the possible improvements will be delivered if we don’t secure funding. If we are successful in securing funding, there will be extensive public and stakeholder consultation on any schemes, which will include looking at parking needs in the town, alongside other considerations such as viability, sustainability, visitor numbers and conservation.”
And what might happen if we the bid isn’t successful?
The investment will address current structural factors that are limiting growth, diversity and severely damaging the high street’s vitality. If unaddressed, the town will continue to deteriorate, and footfall will continue to fall. Increasing costs to operate the wonderful heritage properties mean that these will become unviable within the next 5-10 years.
All of this information was taken from the application for the bid.