Bid for millions to revitalise town centre

A multi-million-pound bid to revitalise Grantham's town centre, improve access and support local businesses will be submitted at the end of the month.

South Kesteven District Council has approved the bid to the Government's Future High Street Fund and committed to contribute £379,092 over the scheme's four-year duration.

If successful, SKDC would receive just over £8m from the Future High Street Fund and aims to attract around £11.5m in match funding from the private sector, bringing the total investment to almost £20m.

The aim of the fund is to revitalise town centres by investing in key capital projects to increase footfall, diversify the use of buildings and public spaces, and provide a safe and welcoming environment.

The Leader of SKDC, Cllr Kelham Cooke described it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

He said: "Grantham is growing, let's be bold, let's be innovative and let's make Grantham great."

Deputy Leader of SKDC, Cllr Barry Dobson, said: "This is an exciting bid that would help to transform Grantham, bringing new life and opportunities for visitors, residents and local businesses. We all know that high streets must change to reflect present and future consumer demand so that they remain vibrant and resilient."

Recommended options in SKDC's bid were based on fund criteria and the council's priorities for Grantham, and included:

• Regeneration of the railway station approach
• Public realm improvements
• Town centre developments
• Bringing vacant town centre spaces back into use

The options are central to building the town's resilience, making the arrival at Grantham railway station the open welcome to the remodelled town centre, future-proofing against changing consumer demands, improving access and parking facilities, and celebrating Grantham's unique identity by providing an engaging visitor experience.

Improved infrastructure will:

• support local businesses;
• promote enjoyment of public spaces;
• increase the role and prominence of Grantham's cultural offer with promotion of a longer daytime and evening economy.

Bringing derelict and underused buildings and sites back into use will also drive economic activity.

The four-year project includes the appointment of a Town Centre Manager.

Following its work on the successful first-round submission, InvestSK, the council's regeneration and economic development company, was commissioned to develop a business case that will be submitted to the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government on July 31.

A draft was submitted in March 2020 following internal and external consultations that included meetings with key stakeholders and a public survey.

Cllr Dobson, who is also a director of InvestSK, said: "Grantham has significant potential to play a prominent economic role in South Kesteven, Lincolnshire and the surrounding areas with its unique infrastructure to all parts of the country via road and rail. These are areas where Grantham has been underperforming and where the town desperately needs to improve its support of commerce and industry to grow and prosper in a rapidly changing world.

"Through the creation of high quality and inclusive spaces, Grantham will become a town in which all people want to live, shop and visit. Ultimately, the creation of a more engaging and attractive town centre will attract visitors, encourage diverse businesses, residential and leisure opportunities, leading to greater economic sustainability and resilience going forward.

"This investment will reshape Grantham into a successful and vibrant town meeting the requirements of the 21st century."

Gareth Davies, MP for Grantham and Stamford, who supports the bid, said: "The potential for Grantham is immense. The Future High Streets funding can help us generate a town centre that draws people to it and which maximises the town's fantastic infrastructure to attract the wider economic spend of Grantham's potential catchment area."