I was delighted to attend the Glastonbury Town Deal Open Day last week. Held in the ever-elegant town hall, the event showcased the 12 local projects set to benefit from £23.6 million in Government funding.
The enthusiasm and ambition of the individuals involved was palpable. Everyone was clearly convinced this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Two years after the first pandemic lockdown, economic growth has never been more important - and they are going to make the most of it!
This is Glastonbury, so you’d expect an innovative, forward-looking approach to regeneration, with both eyes on the environment and how we live, work and travel. It was fascinating to see the projects set out together, and how they all interlinked.
The majority are in the industrial Beckery area, first transformed by the monks of Glastonbury Abbey who made such a difference to the Somerset Moors with their drainage schemes and use of the Mill Stream.
The biggest Town Deal project is the restoration of the Bailys buildings owned by the charitable Beckery Island Regeneration Trust. These Listed Victorian buildings will form a substantial hub for small and growing start-up businesses, and a museum.
The nearby Clean Energy project, will invest in renewable energy and electric vehicle charging. It will feed energy to other businesses, creating a sustainable future for the whole area.
At the Red Brick Building, the Life Factory will see further restoration of the old Morlands buildings. A place to make, to create and to grow as a community – for people of all ages.
Glastonbury has long been a leader in food diversification, and the food and regenerative farming centre will see growing and land management carried out the natural way. The Enterprise and Innovation Centre through Somerset County Council will provide a dedicated food and manufacturing centre, alongside business support.
And at St Brigid’s Chapel and Field, a revitalised visitor destination will feature the Pagan and Christian histories of Glastonbury.
The importance of sport and leisure to our physical and mental health is fully recognised in the regeneration of Glastonbury. Celebrating the great outdoors, a network of walking and cycling paths will provide a gateway to the Avalon Marshes as well as routes into Glastonbury town and neighbouring communities. And Tor Leisure will bring together cricket, football, bowls, acrobatic gymnastics, alongside existing uses such as dog walking.
The entrance to Glastonbury Abbey will become a piazza space, making it more welcoming and visible. And next door at St Dunstan’s House, will be a health and wellbeing hub, hosted in the heart of the town where those services are needed.
Investment in a park and ride facility, using electric bus services, drawing energy from the clean energy project will ensure visitors can travel here sustainably.
A further, final project is looking at support for our non-bricks and mortar communities in Glastonbury.
It’s critically important these wonderful schemes can survive financially, and so a community benefit society is being set up to receive income from the bigger projects, to help the smaller ones thrive.
I am extremely proud of the way Mendip District Council’s committed officers have worked tirelessly to enable this exciting investment to come to life – unique and varied as these projects are, in this special place.
Find out more here: www.mendip.gov.uk/glastotowndeal
If you have any questions for me, then please do get in touch by email: [email protected] or via Facebook: @RosWyke.
Caption: Portfolio Holder for Community Health and Services, Cllr Heather Shearer and Leader of Mendip District Council, Cllr Ros Wyke enjoy the buzz of the Glastonbury Town Deal Open Day.
If youhave any questions for me, then please do get in touch by email: [email protected] or via Facebook: @RosWyke.
Written by Cllr Ros Wyke, Leader of Mendip District Council
Please get in touch either on my Facebook page @Ros.Wyke or you can send me an email: [email protected].