Have your say on potential £25m. funding for Nelson

The views of local folk are being sought on how a potential £25m. pot of funding could be spent on improving Nelson

Monday, 21st December 2020, 10:21 am
Updated Monday, 21st December 2020, 10:24 am
Nelson town centre. PIC: Andy Ford

Nelson is one of 101 towns across England – and one of only two towns in East Lancashire - chosen to bid for funding of up to £25m. from the Government’s new Town Deal funding pot.

The Town Deals are designed to raise living standards, create jobs, improve workforce skills, boost transport and broadband connections, create community hubs and improve cultural opportunities.

An Investment Plan is being drawn up and this is being overseen by the Nelson Town Deal Board, which includes community representatives, people with businesses in the town and young people from the Pendle Youth Council.

The Plan has to be submitted by the end of January 2021.

Chairman of the board, Stephen Barnes, said: “We would like to thank everyone who gave us their opinion in the initial consultation. The response was fantastic, which shows people do care about the town they work and live in.

“In total, we received over 400 responses to our online questionnaire, as well as feedback though targeted engagement.

"The results have helped us to create a shortlist of projects which we now need feedback on before we submit our final plan in a month’s time.”

The results of the consultation showed community support was strongest for bringing empty and underused sites and buildings back into use in order to create new housing and employment opportunities.

Improving what the town centre has to offer by creating more reasons to visit and spend time there, was the second most important; followed by improving the town’s parks and open spaces.

Projects which improved skills and educational attainment were also felt to be important.

The strength of community support to these project ideas was one of the factors taken into account when turning the long list of project ideas into a short list.

Now the Nelson Town Deal Board wants people’s views on the short list of projects that has been drawn up. These include:

Creating a Pendle Youth Employment Service (YES) Hub which will help Pendle’s 16-24 year olds overcome barriers to employment. It will provide a ‘one stop shop’ where young people can go to access a range of information, advice and guidance;

Creating a Digital Skills Hub and Academy within Nelson and Colne College’s main building and a smaller facility within the town centre;

A Healthy Town project which will result in new leisure facilities for young people at Pendle Wavelengths, as well as improvements to Nelson’s three parks;

An Accessible Nelson project which will seek to improve traffic flow and movement around the town centre, enhance cycling and pedestrian routes and improve the experience for residents and visitors as they enter and leave the town via the key gateway routes;

Creating a five year arts and culture programme of activity, events and the re-activation of places and spaces to actively engage Nelson’s communities;

Bring back into use vacant and underused buildings and sites to offer new housing and employment opportunities;

A project to provide capital investment for business expansion projects including premises, plant and machinery to support the creation of sustainable jobs and improved productivity in the manufacturing sector.

The projects which were not shortlisted, including improvements to housing and improving digital connectivity, will not be lost from the plan.

The Board will seek other sources of funding for them.

Mr Barnes added: “Following the excellent response we had to the first consultation, we hope just as many – if not more – people will take the time to help us with this shortlist of projects and the bid to improve Nelson for generations to come.”

You can find more information about the short listed projects - and have your say – by visiting the website www.nelsontowndeal.co.uk Consultation will close on December 30th.