Saturday, September 30, 2023

Transformational £14.8m government grant backs Boston regeneration vision

Boston Borough Council has successfully secured £14.8m from the Government Levelling Up Fund to kick-start regeneration and secure further investment to the heart of the town centre.

The Levelling Up Fund is specifically designed to secure capital investment in infrastructure that has the potential to improve lives and give people pride in their communities. Boston’s Rosegarth Square masterplan, forming part of PE21, seeks to revitalise and repurpose the area between the River Witham and the bus station – particularly focusing on the area of the former Dunelm/B&M building and the vacant Crown House building.

A new public park, spanning the area between the river and the Len Medlock Centre will provide a new place for people. New green spaces, improved pedestrian routes, artwork and other features seek to create an inviting, safe, accessible and enjoyable place for all, as well as offering significant environmental enhancements.

Alongside this, works to convert Crown House to provide a mix of residential and other uses to support young people and families, will see this building visually improved and positively enhance its presence.

Works to demolish the existing B&M building as enabling works to future re-development will also be undertaken; taken together these interventions will improve the appearance of the area and address some local challenges from anti-social behaviour and crime.

In conjunction with the proposed works, a programme of community engagement will be undertaken, including a linked archaeology project, to better understand the history of the site, influence the emerging designs, and link the area’s past to its future.

Collectively these interventions are intended to be high-quality, and make significant impact both for the short and longer-term. They will revitalise this large brownfield site and act as a catalyst for further positive inward investment and the regeneration ambition for the area. The aim is to change the character and appearance of this area, create opportunities for new uses and homes, create jobs, support the economy and the community, and create a place where people want to live, work and enjoy.

Securing this level of public investment, supplemented by further match funding, will act as the catalyst for the wider re-development of this prominent, and unique place so that it makes a positive contribution to the area and becomes a place people can be proud of and which complements the setting of Boston Stump and the core of the town centre around the Market Place. It comes on top of Boston Borough Council’s successful bids to the Towns Fund.

The proposal was initially submitted in August 2022, and the Council will now seek to mobilise quickly to access and draw down the funding from Government and seek to re-engage with partners to move the scheme on to the detailed design and delivery phases. Further engagement will also be undertaken as the proposals are developed.

Cllr Nigel Welton, deputy leader and portfolio holder for economic growth at Boston Borough Council, said: “Since submitting the bid in early August, we have been eagerly awaiting to hear the result – and we are absolutely thrilled to be able to say that we have been successful in our bid, and have been allocated £14.8million from the Levelling Up Fund.

“This is another great example of the public and private sector working together to help bring investment into Boston. This forward-thinking council is focussed on doing all that it can to help improve the economy, create new job opportunities and install a sense of pride for residents in the town. This is an ambitious scheme which we hope to bring real change for Boston for future generations. We want to continually improve the town and help to raise aspirations and this investment will play a key role in that.”

The funding announcement comes as several regeneration and improvement projects start to take shape in Boston following Town Deal funding from the Government, also part of the Levelling Up agenda.

Historic shop fronts are being renovated as part of plans to attract more investment; improvements at Boston Railway Station are proposed; and other projects to transform the health, wellbeing and education through the Boston Leisure and Mayflower projects all seek to create new opportunities for residents as well as attracting new visitors to the area.

Matt Warman, Member of Parliament for Boston and Skegness, said: “The government has backed the Council’s bold, ambitious vision for Boston, and awarded major funding that many other towns were also bidding for. The success of Boston Borough Council in securing their full £14.8 million bid in the face of stiff competition across the UK demonstrates the transformative quality of this comprehensive plan to regenerate a currently neglected and run down part of our town in a sustainable way.

“Linking with improvements made within the £21.9 million Boston Town Deal, residents and visitors to Boston will see their route through the town renewed with both new high quality building projects and sympathetic renovation and reinstatement of historic features.

“Council leaders and officers have worked in partnership with government and business to bring contemporary housing, hospitality and retail options within a newly created urban green space. And with every £1 of public money spent here bringing a benefit of £2.80 to our local area as well as creating jobs it’s great value for taxpayers too.”

The Council hopes this investment will unlock further opportunities in this area to deliver homes, health-facilities and new employment spaces.

The Government is supporting all the LUF projects put forward by the whole of the South & East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership with £14.8million awarded to Boston Borough Council, £20million to South Holland District Council and £8million in East Lindsey.

Each scheme will see projects which will be transformational for each district for generations to come, through job creation, new opportunities, driving inward investment and supporting the health and wellbeing of residents.

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