For those many who wonder what Cornwall Council ever does for Bude, here’s your answer, for Bude has been awarded £48k by Cornwall Council as part of the Town Centre Vitality Fund and at February’s Full Council meeting, BSTC approved the award.
Cllr Tony Gibb also explains why such a large pot of money is needed merely for a consultation process. To gain larger pots of money for capital projects, everything has to be professionally based and evidenced (which means consultants). It’s good news, but positive change and development sometimes seems to be a very slow process.
Bude & Stratton Town Council say:
More than 20 towns across Cornwall have also accessed this pot of money to explore ways to keep up with 21st century needs and remain vibrant, so this award for Bude keeps us in the mix.
The fund seeks to improve the “economic, social and environmental revitalisation of town centres” across Cornwall and is just the first step to help put towns on a solid footing to bid for much larger sums of money for identified improvements.
Town Centre Vitality Fund grants only cover revenue expenditure in this early stage and cannot be used for capital build projects in themselves.
For Bude, this means the money will be spent on commissioning consultants to carry out far reaching consultation with local businesses, Councillors, community organisations and the wider public.
The next step is to commission independent consultants to find out what – if anything – is identified by the community to enhance Bude in the future, whether that’s infrastructure improvements, or other non-physical changes such as upgrades to connectivity, for example.
The consultants will be tasked to produce a Vision and Investment Plan, which will be created after extensive consultation across the whole community to agree on a collective vision for the town. This plan will include:
· The capture of ideas, including indicative costs, artists’ impressions and concept plans.
· An Economic Benefits Appraisal, looking at future users’ needs, notably accessibility, biodiversity and employment opportunities.
· A Smart Town Infrastructure Appraisal, reviewing ways to improve digital connectivity within the town.
The project will be overseen by Bude Town Team and BSTC remains the accountable body. Details of the Bude Town Team can be found on the BSTC website, and the pages will be updated regularly as the project takes shape.
Town Team Chair, Tony Gibbs, explained: “Ultimately, this is great news for Bude, which has all too often missed out on the chance to access large pots of money for investment. There was understandable scepticism last year about this financial award for the town, but we’d like to reassure the community that we are now focused on effective community consultation, and we’ll know more about how this will take shape after the tender process closes on 3 March. Watch this space!”
Tony added: “We are also aware that this seems like a large amount of money for a consultation process, but we need to do this properly. If we want to be in a position to bid seriously for substantial amounts of money for our town, then we need professionally-sought hard evidence to support such a bid.”
The terms of the grant state that the money has to spent within 12 months, so the project will move quickly from here on in. The Town Team will be holding an open event in the near future to encourage membership and community participation, and everyone is encouraged to get involved.