Reviving Penzance town centre, investing to regenerate the harbours and a sustainable transport project to prioritise pedestrians and cyclists, encourage green transport and open up the waterfront are just some of the projects shortlisted in Penzance and Newlyn’s Town Investment Plan.
The Plan was developed by Penzance’s Town Deal Board after Penzance and Newlyn were selected by Government as one of 101 towns nationally to bid for up to £25m to invest in regeneration and clean growth. The Board, made up of local private and public sector members from across Penzance and Newlyn, worked to make sure that the short-listed projects reflected public input from extensive local consultation carried out over the past 5 years in connection with the Neighbourhood Plan including the Investment EXPO’s held in 2017 and 2018.
Martin Tucker, Chair of the Penzance Town Deal Board said that he saw this as a welcome initiative. “For years, Penzance and Newlyn have suffered from lack of investment and now we have the opportunity to start changing that to make sure that future generations want to and are able to live, work and bring up their families here. That’s reflected in the Board’s Vision for the future, a thriving, resilient place with a diverse economy, providing quality jobs, opportunities, homes and lifestyles. Somewhere that’s welcoming, connects locals and visitors to its inspiring coastline and culture, and puts people and planet first”
The projects shortlisted in the Town Deal Plan have shared aims and will complement investments included in Penzance’s successful bid for £10.4m from the Future High Streets fund announced a few weeks ago.
In Penzance, the Plan aims to make the town centre a more attractive place for people to shop, work, visit and live. Market House sits at the heart of the town. Town Deal wants to bring this amazing building into community ownership. The plan is to develop the empty part of it, renovating the market hall to create a flexible indoor space hosting markets, community and private events; and on the upper and lower floors to create much needed small retail spaces, a cafe and modern work space for local businesses. Reviving the heart of the town around Market House by subdividing large vacant shops to create affordable smaller units will support development of independent retailers looking to establish themselves or to relocate within the town. New residential on the upper floors will bring more people to live in the town centre.
Public realm improvements across Penzance and Newlyn will create a less traffic dominated more pedestrian friendly and accessible environment. In Penzance town centre there will be improvements around Market Place and Green Market, at the top of Causewayhead and at Branwells Gyratory. Enhancements to Jennings Street and New Town Lane will connect the town centre with the harbour where improvements will allow much greater access to the waterfront. Newlyn village centre and its connections to the Prom will be improved to become more pedestrian and cycle friendly. All of this will support sustainable transport and creating public space, build a network of safe and accessible walking, cycling paths and open urban spaces for all to enjoy.
The waterfront, whether it’s the coast path, the Prom or a harbour is interlinked with everything about this place. It’s at the heart of the economy and is a massive leisure, health and wellbeing amenity for local people, visitors and tourists. Recent investments along the Promenade and to enhance the path between Marazion and Penzance have had a tangible impact with many more people able and wanting to use and enjoy the waterfront. Town Deal will contribute to that. The plan aims to revitalise a vacant site on the Promenade to create an “Adrenalin centre”, a year round indoor activity facility for local people and visitors alike.
A key aim of Town Deal is to invest to secure quality employment opportunities in higher wage sectors. The harbours have a crucial role to play. The marine and fishing sectors can provide skilled, well paid employment. The Town Deal plan envisages investing in the first phase of a long-term plan to regenerate Penzance Harbour, creating new purpose-built sheds for marine engineering and marine users, fostering development of opportunities in marine leisure and adopting sustainable practises to help protect our marine environment. In Newlyn, the Plan includes developing a new skills and training facility for the Fishing and Marine sectors. This will replace the current facilities enabling Newlyn to become a centre of excellence providing support and training for existing and new businesses operating in industry sectors vital to the local economy which are undergoing huge change and transition. Culture and Creativity are also an important part of Penzance and Newlyn. Nearly 25% of jobs are in the creative sector and it’s a core part of the area’s identity. The Plan will support our existing facilities and help to create new ones, adding greater diversity and richness to the local offer and helping to grow the sector. Projects included are Morrab Gardeners House, Penlee House, Newlyn School of Art and Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange.
Government defines what they will fund through Town Deal and their funding criteria is all about large “transformational” capital projects. However, this Town Deal Board recognises that the local economy is driven by small businesses and that the large investments set out in the Plan will be successful only if the businesses around them are able to benefit too. In that respect, the Plan envisages a sum of money set aside to provide Enterprise Grants (of between £20,000 and £250,000 per business) designed to provide support for businesses looking to make capital investments to grow or transform. We hope that Government recognises the importance of what the Enterprise Grant proposal represents and realises that the bigger interventions have a much greater chance of success if all areas of the economy linked to it and are given a chance to grow and develop!
A response to the Penzance and Newlyn Town Investment Plan is expected in March 2021.
For more information on the projects, or to get involved, please visit https://lovepenzance.co.uk/pz-town-deal