Agenda item

Towns Fund Progress Update & Project Review (1 Hour)

To receive a detailed update on the Towns Fund and Accelerated Funding Projects & review their status.



The Board received an update on the Towns Fund and project review.


The Board had agreed in its November meeting that the most prudent course of action, because of the rising cost inflation was that the Lyceum powerhouse should be removed from the program and that the funds from that should be reallocated across the remaining 9 projects to bolster those projects and ensure that they could still deliver the outcomes and impacts anticipated

The project adjustment request was submitted in December and it was hoped that a decision would be received on this by the March board meeting.


In January, following feedback received from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), more information on the Warm and Healthy Homes project was submitted in respect of the BCR calculation, along with further detail on the financial profiling and drawdown of funds for all of the schemes.


The Chair thanked Dr Kieran Mullan MP for arranging a meeting prior to Christmas with Dehenna Davison a minister from the Department of Levelling up which gave an opportunity to present the Board’s specific proposal on why it had found it necessary to make the decision to amend its town board investment plan.


The Development & Regeneration Delivery Manager provided an overview of the projects since the last meeting and informed the Board that in terms of projects cost and quality risks nothing had changed.



-       Site clearance had commenced on the 9 January 2023.

-       Fencing had been erected on 16 January 2023

-       Opening would be June 2023.


Flag Lane Baths

-       Finalised layout plans had been agreed in preparation for RIBA stage 4 design.


Cumberland Arena

-       Planning application decision awaited.


Mill Street Project

-       Publication consultation with Guinness residents undertaken 19 January 2023.

-       Wider public consultation would take place on 16 and 17 February 2023.


History Centre Project

-       Two planning applications had been submitted to Southern Planning Committee which would be considered on the 15 March 2023

One for dismantling the current structure, the creation of new public realm, a new court entrance and replacement car parking

One for the new History Centre building


Repurposing Our High Street

-       There was ongoing engagement with property owners and agents.

-       Following committee approval on 17 January a soft launch had been undertaken for expressions of interest and more than 40 had been received.

-       The scheme launch was planned for March.


Pocket Parks

-       An additional advanced payment had been made for Jubilee Site/Wishing Well.


Youth Zone

-       A planning application had been submitted for Oak Street.

-       DCMS Youth Investment Fund announcement expected shortly.




The board discussed the custodianship and programming of the space moving forwards and stressed the importance of ensuring community involvement. Given the multiple stakeholders who border the space, and who would be involved in its potential programming, it is important that all stakeholders collaborate and coordinate, to ensure the space operates smoothly and effectively. It was agreed that the cultural economy team would bring forward a paper for the next board meeting, which would outline the governance structure and requirements for Ly2 moving forward.


Repurposing our High Streets project


Iain Nicholson had been drafted in on a consultancy basis to coordinate the project. Iain has expertise and experience in getting vacant properties populated through the use of his Vacant Shops Academy approach. One of the initial challenges had been identifying properties to let, as some didn’t have letting information on them, and there had been little response from landlords. The Board discussed options around how it could help to influence this situation and start to build momentum for the project.




That the update be noted.