Projects worth over £40 million to boost jobs, skills and town centre secure Loughborough Town Deal support

Projects worth over £40 million to boost jobs, skills and town centre secure Loughborough Town Deal support

Posted: Fri, 27 Aug 2021 17:29

Projects worth over £40 million to boost jobs, skills and town centre secure Loughborough Town Deal support

A series of projects worth over £40 million which will create jobs, boost skills and improve a town centre have received the backing of Loughborough Town Deal.

The Town Deal Board has been offered £16.9 million by Government to invest in Loughborough and 11 projects have been backed by the board to receive Town Deal Funding.

They aim to boost skills, improve the town centre, reduce flooding, regenerate the riverside, develop a creative hub and support two key attractions – Great Central Railway and John Taylor's Bell Foundry.

With Town Deal funding and match funding, the projects are worth more than £40 million.

Business cases for each project will now be developed.

The Town Deal Board is co-chaired by Cllr Jonathan Morgan, Leader of Charnwood Borough Council, and Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, Chairman of Loughborough-based Morningside Pharmaceuticals.

Cllr Morgan said: "The Town Deal represents a huge opportunity for Loughborough, its residents and local businesses and I am pleased we will be able to support these projects and progress them to the next stage.

"The Town Deal will help improve skills for local people which will be particularly important as we recover from the pandemic, but it will also tackle some issues that have held back our town for many years, such as the risk of flooding.

"It is a varied programme, and the Board are working hard to ensure all the projects can be delivered with the partners involved."

Dr Kotecha said: "Our vision is to make Loughborough a great place to live, learn, work, and grow and provide opportunities for all.

"These projects will help us achieve that vision and I would like to congratulate everyone for reaching this stage. I would also like to thank everyone for their positive commitment to the Town Deal and to working together for the benefit of Loughborough."

The projects which have been approved to progress to the next stage by the board are:

  • Loughborough College Digital Skills Hub
  • Living Loughborough Project
  • Healthy and Innovative Loughborough
  • Loughborough Wood Brook Flood Risk Management Scheme
  • The Bedford Square Gateway Project
  • The Generator - Creative Industries and Community Arts Hub
  • John Taylor's Bell Foundry: Saving the last major bell foundry in Britain
  • Loughborough Riverside Regeneration
  • Careers and Enterprise Hub
  • Great Central Railway - A new Heritage Locomotive Works, Education Centre & Museum for Loughborough

The Board also agreed to fund a revised Lanes and Links project to focus on the proposed creation of the Hope Bell in Queen's Park. The bell would be cast by Loughborough's John Taylor's Bell Foundry and commemorate the impact Covid-19 has had on the borough and be a symbol of hope for the future.

The projects were selected following a prioritisation exercise which considered several factors including robustness of the business case, match funding, readiness to go, deliverability and impact on the town.

Three other projects have been put on a reserve list. They are: Connected Loughborough – East-West smart sustainable transport corridor; Loughborough Developer Accelerator; Parish Green Environmental Improvements.

More details about the projects are set out below.

Following the Board's decision, a list of the supported projects will be submitted to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and business cases will be developed in the coming months.

A final decision on funding for each project will be made by Government following the submission of the business cases. Decisions are expected over the next 12 months. All projects are still in the development stage and therefore subject to change. Some contingency and project management funding is also included in the £16.9 million offer from Government.

Summary of Loughborough Town Deal Support Projects

The first cost is Town Deal funding. The figure in brackets is the total cost of the project including funding from other sources.

1. Loughborough College Digital Skills Hub. £2.6million (£7m)

The new Digital Skills Hub will provide the opportunity to increase the skills of the regional work force through supporting Industry links leading to greater breadth and increase in work experience placement opportunities. It will deliver:

  • Deliver T-Levels, Apprenticeships and Kickstart job placements to skill-up local
  • people as Loughborough moves into a more digitally focussed future.
  • Target unemployed and semi-skilled adults to support them into employment.
  • Equip the next generation with the skills and knowledge to improve social mobility, human capital and economic success.
  • Provide support to businesses post-COVID-19.
  • Reduce the need for local people to travel to access skills therefore contributing to our commitment to clean growth and carbon reductions in Loughborough.

2. Living Loughborough Project. £2.87m (£3.1m)

Living Loughborough will rejuvenate the town centre post-COVID-19. The investment will make the town centre a dynamic, pleasant, safe social hub where residents and visitors can choose to meet, eat, be entertained and shop through the creation of:

  • Urban Plaza – increased seating and dining areas.
  • Semi- permanent stalls to encourage pop ups and street activity.
  • Multipurpose infrastructure to support markets, business, and community events.
  • Undercover performance space, improved sound, vision, and lighting
  • Promotion of the town's cultural heritage, use of apps, trails and augmented reality.
  • Safe town, improved lighting, and CCTV.
  • Contributes to clean growth by reducing the need for people to travel to other areas for entertainment and shopping.

3. Healthy and Innovative Loughborough. £2.46m (£10.9m)

This is a multi-faceted project delivered by a key local institution. It will utilise University innovation and knowledge to support business innovation and growth. Excellence is sports will be used to connect with local people to facilitate healthy living. An Impact Hub will help ensure that projects are delivering real, measurable benefits, including those of a clean and sustainable nature, for the town. The project will:

  • Contribute to 220 jobs and support 70 new businesses.
  • Innovation: will be delivered through the Sport Park (Pavilion 4) and the New Business Wayfinder and will lead to high value jobs available to residents, the support of new and emerging town businesses.
  • Knowledge: delivered through Active Living and the Impact Hub will be critical to post-COVID-19 recovery and the health of the town.

4. Loughborough Wood Brook Flood Risk Management Scheme. £2m (£4.8m)

This flood defence scheme for Loughborough town centre will bring forward development opportunities and reduce the risk of flooding for hundreds of residents and businesses. The project will:

  • Offsets impacts of future climate change providing flood protection for up to 360 residential and 101 non-residential properties.
  • Generate employment and housing site.
  • Bring 5 sites out of flood risk including Limehurst Depot.
  • Protects digital connectivity in areas at risk.
  • Provides opportunity for a greener, cleaner Loughborough.

5. Bedford Square Gateway Project. £1.7m (£3.6m)

This project seeks to improve the public realm to make the town centre attractive and accessible and link the urban with open spaces such as the award-winning Queen's Park. The investment will:

  • Transform the area of town from a heavily dominated car environment by widening pavements, priority will be given to the health, safety, and mobility of pedestrians.
  • Provide more space for events and activity to take place.
  • Improve connectivity and reduce commercial property vacancies by increasing footfall to the area that will serve to encourage economic growth and business support.
  • Create a cleaner, greener public realm which discourages the dominance of the car.

6. The Generator - Creative Industries and Community Arts Hub. £1.6m (£4m)

A Creative Industries & Community Arts Hub – Led by a Community Interest Company, a partnership between the public, private and voluntary sector, this project will bring a major derelict 1930s building back to use as an arts venue and visitor attraction creating:

  • Three floors of co-workspace supporting / sustaining new, creative industries, retaining graduates and generating jobs.
  • Public access to a multimedia arts centre café and restaurant for performance, exhibitions, and community engagement.
  • A focus for community engagement, activity and business support.
  • A sustainable hub which prevents the need for people to travel elsewhere to access similar facilities.

7. John Taylor's Bell Foundry: Saving the last major bell foundry in Britain. £835,000 (£5.4m)

The Bell Foundry has successfully secured over £5 million, £3.5 of this from the National Lottery to support the restoration of the historic Grade II* Taylor's Bell Foundry. The project aims to save the last major Bell Foundry in Britain, making bells for thousands of buildings across the UK and exporting bells to countries around the world. Without urgent investment this incredible asset and part of our national culture could be lost. With the help of TIP funding this shovel ready project will:

  • Remove the Bell Foundry from the 'Heritage at risk register.
  • Secure the future of the Industry in Britain identified as 'Critically Endangered'.
  • Create a new Bell Museum with increased and improved access, interpretation, and educational facilities.
  • Ensure Taylor's Bells are enjoyed by future generations.
  • Contribute to a critical mass of heritage attractions and bring increased visitor spend in the town.
  • Put Loughborough on the tourism map.
  • Contribute to sustainable growth by retaining employment and manufacturing in an existing building.

8. Riverside Regeneration. £885,000 (£905,000)

This project will upgrade this historic national Waterway corridor which links the town centre and railway station making it a more attractive place to visit and use as a sustainable travel corridor. This project targets the towpath of the Grand Union Canal close to deprived communities and aims to:

  • Improve 2km of waterway through the town centre.
  • Resurface and make the tow path more accessible installing signage, lighting, wayfinding, and access points.
  • Increasing the number of mooring sites.
  • The improvements will contribute to a greater number of visitors on foot and by boat. It will also assist in making a physical link to the town's strong industrial heritage.

9. Careers and Enterprise Hub. £150,000 (£357,000)

The Careers and Enterprise Hub is a place in the town centre where people, young and old, can get help to plan their future in terms of developing skills or starting a business. This learning environment is being delivered through a collaborative partnership which includes Loughborough College and Loughborough University. It has already received £750,000 of initial Town Deal Accelerated Funding. The Hub:

  • Provides a physical portal for those most economically at risk into skills and enterprise.
  • Focus on local people and contribute to levelling up opportunities and economic activity in Loughborough.
  • Work with stakeholders and partners to ensure workforce needs are met in key employment sector post-COVID-19.
  • Reduce the need for local people to travel to access skills therefore contributing to our commitment to clean growth and carbon reductions in Loughborough.

10. Great Central Railway - A new Heritage Locomotive Works, Education Centre & Museum for Loughborough. £30,000 (£100,000)

Great Central Railway is Europe's only surviving double track heritage railway and the only section of preserved mainline railway, the only place in the UK where heritage trains can be seen passing each other at speed, all important features which are unique and benefit not only the town but are precious in terms of the UK as a whole. This project will:

  • Help to preserve and develop rare employment skills which are rapidly dying out.
  • Support an engineering and an associated Education Centre, which will link with the University Engineering Department on several major projects.
  • Deliver increased tourism opportunities. The GCR attracts over 110,000 visitors per annum in a normal non-COVID-19 year – all contributing spending in the wider town economy.
  • Further develop a linked-up heritage quarter and the planned development of the attractions themselves.
  • Reduce the need for local people to travel to access skills therefore contributing to our commitment to clean growth and carbon reductions in Loughborough.

The Hope Bell. To be confirmed.

The proposal is to rescope the Lanes and Links project and retain the proposal to create the "Hope Bell" in alignment with the town's Carillon War Memorial in Queen's Park in Loughborough, which houses 47 bells cast by Taylor's Bell Foundry, providing a "unique" walkway for commemoration and reflection on the impact of both the COVID-19 pandemic and lives lost in conflict.

Summaries of projects on the reserve list

Developer Accelerator

This is the TIP's major urban regeneration intervention and enabler of private sector investment. It creates a fund to unlock four key sites in town for housing, commercial and leisure development and will help to drive the recovery of Loughborough. The project aims to:

  • Provide a public investment fund to accelerate and lever major private investment projects.
  • Offer a mix of grant, loan or equity/partial capital funding.
  • Developers will be invited to make proposals for sites that can deliver more rapidly with enhanced social value.
  • Facilitate regeneration of brownfield sites therefore contributing to environmentally sustainable development of the town.

Connected Loughborough

Connect Loughborough will improve the public realm between the east and east and west sides of town, making it easier for people to move from the train station through the town centre to the university, college and science and enterprise park. Improvements will include:

  • New upgraded path and cycle routes.
  • Green corridor supporting sustainable travel options.
  • Improved mobility and access.
  • Efficient travel with reduced congestions and lowing of carbon emissions.
  • Improved cohesion within and between communities and healthy living.

Parish Green

A restoration project sensitive to the area's history and heritage improving the Grade I listed Parish Church, Grade II* listed Old Rectory and the surroundings of Fearon Hall. It will also revitalise an open space within a deprived neighbourhood which will improve community safety and encourage people to visit the area. Improvements include:

  • Increased energy saving LED lighting to the exterior of the church and
  • Rectory Museum to highlight the significance of the buildings.
  • Improved pedestrian paths and lighting linking access to the Rectory Wildlife
  • Garden and Fearon Hall.
  • Improved soft-landscaping and signage in the surrounding area, especially from the Nottingham Road gateway, between the train station and the town centre.
  • Improved interpretation panels.
  • Greening of a part of the town centre therefore enabling a haven for wildlife.

Loughborough Lanes and Links

This will create stronger, safer, and more accessible pedestrian priority corridors and connections to the town centre, linking key destinations including, core shopping area, green spaces, and heritage assets. Unlocking the 15 lanes will involve:

  • The introduction of artworks, lighting, signage, and public information improving safety and encouraging footfall.
  • The uncovering Loughborough's rich heritage; Ladybird books, Taylors Bell foundry, the destination of Thomas Cook's first excursion and the Great Central Railway.
  • Add to the heritage through the installation of the "Hope Bell" in alignment with the town's Carillon War Memorial, which houses 47 bells cast by Taylor's Bell Foundry, providing a "unique" walkway for commemoration and reflection on the impact of both the COVID-19 pandemic and lives lost in conflict.
  • Physical improvements to urban lanes and gateways which are currently unattractive, under-utilised and do not give a feeling of safety to pedestrians. Making them attractive and safe will benefit local residents and enhance our offer to visitors.
  • Enabling people to walk safely will reduce the need for people to use vehicles to move around the town, therefore contributing to carbon emissions reduction.

Tags: Charnwood, Loughborough, Loughborough Town Deal, News, Town Deal

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