A Market Town Regeneration Fund has been launched by Central Bedfordshire Council. Under the scheme up to £4 million is available across the authority's area, and bids will be accepted between £25,000 and £1 million.
To qualify for the money, the bids have to be matched by 50% funding. On Monday evening next week, Houghton Regis Town Councillors will be deliberating over whether or not to bid for this funding. Clearly they will need to have an objective and need to explain the impact of anything they decide. If they decide to go ahead with a bid, they only have until 29th February 2016 to apply.
Current thinking is that there are things that need doing in the town centre to make it a continued viability, and to keep it a vibrant place that attracts shoppers. Some ideas discussed will have staffing implications. The 50% matched funding could come from banked reserves, or be loaded onto the Council Tax precept.
Ideas that councillors have already discussed in the Town Council Plan include:
- Improving railings outside Roger Marsh estate agents
- A bandstand
- A town clock
- A Town Ranger scheme
- Public Art
- Public noticeboard
- Flower beds, hanging baskets, regeneration of bushes plot in front of Church car park.
- Improving (flattening) disabled parking at Church Square car park.
- Establishment of central refuges in pedestrian crossings.
- Making a disabled access for 1st floor shops
- Creating a small market
- Shop Local campaign
- Improvements to shop fronts, loading bays, and better screening of shop bins
More information about the scheme can be found in the Town Council Agenda, which can be downloaded here: http://www.houghtonregis.org.uk/agendas
|Market stall on Fridays.|