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TROWBRIDGE FUTURE HIGH STREET FUND

Client: Rory Bowen, Head of Service - Economic Development

Wiltshire Council

Transforming

Key facts

  • The £23m FHSF investment will generate £62.4m of financial and economic benefits.

  • Potential for 170+ new homes, a new leisure facility, a new artisan market and expanded capacity at the community-led Trowbridge Town Hall, ecological improvements at the River Biss, and a capital investment programme for vacant units on the high street.

Project Objective 

  • To work with the Council and key stakeholders to identify proposals to transform the experience of Trowbridge High Street, diversify its offer and encourage inward investment.

  • To develop a bid for funding to the Future High Street Fund to support the delivery of a £23m portfolio of high street regeneration projects in Trowbridge Town Centre.

Impact

 

  • We worked with the Economic Development team at Wiltshire Council to identify the unique challenges of the town centre and develop a realistic and future-focused plan to realise the vision for Trowbridge

  • We undertook stakeholder engagement to identify any other available resources and synergies with other projects and ideas. 

  • The proposals use the town centre’s heritage as the focal point, with the aim of making Trowbridge a vibrant place, with 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.

  • We successfully submitted the draft bid within the timescales required.

  • We worked with the Council and community stakeholders to develop an approach to understand the economic impact of the proposed culture and green infrastructure interventions so they could be Green Book compliant.

Wiltshire had already successfully applied to the fund via an Expression of Interest (EOI) process and on the strength of the submission were selected to move forward to a full bid. Our commission began with a review of Trowbridge’s 2014 masterplan, with the aim of developing an ambitious narrative for the town centre that embraced stronger links with community-led projects and a robust sustainability agenda.

 

We undertook stakeholder engagement before and during lockdown, including meetings with Council officers to identify synergies and areas for collaboration to deliver the projects, as well as virtual workshops with community organisations, residents and local business owners to identify compatible available resources and opportunities. This engagement led to the development of a community charter, which will be followed by the establishment of a community stakeholder group to guide future interventions in the town centre.

 

We validated the EOI proposals and assessed other potential interventions against the emerging vision for the town through a structured approach. The majority of these proposals lacked detail, so we initially worked with internal and external stakeholders to further develop the ideas, including design development, developing a programme of investment in high street properties and reviewing existing business plans for community-led assets. We undertook financial and economic analysis to understand each proposals’ potential impact and shortlist the interventions that offered the greatest value for money. We then worked with Council officers to identify an appropriate governance and management structure to ensure that the interventions could be delivered within the fund timescales.

 

To develop a strong bid, we assessed these interventions in line with the Treasury Green Book methodology, utilising Inner Circle Consulting’s Community Impact Model as a core assessment tool for the economic benefits of the project. The draft bid was successfully submitted to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local  Government in July 2020.

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