Frequently Asked Questions
The Glastonbury Town Deal is an agreement in principle between the government, the lead council (it was Mendip District Council, now it’s Somerset Council) and the Glastonbury Town Deal Board. It sets out a vision and strategy for the town, and what each party agrees to do to achieve this vision. In our case, this is documented in the Glastonbury Town Investment Plan, which can be found here: Glastonbury Town Investment Plan.
The Glastonbury Town Deal funding will deliver a necessary economic development and ‘levelling up’ opportunity for the town, bringing existing assets back into community use, and working with the local community to deliver the spaces and resources that they want and need. The overall aim is for Glastonbury to be a sustainable, prosperous, modern town and global tourist centre, drawing on its rural landscape, history and unique legacy.
The Towns Fund is a £3.6bn fund that is being used to invest in towns across England as part of the government’s plan to level up our regions. The fund will support an initial 101 places, including Glastonbury, to drive economic regeneration and deliver long-term economic and productivity growth. In summary, the Towns Fund is the pot of money that will fund the Town Deal investment and projects for Glastonbury.
Each of the 101 towns selected by the government to work towards a Town Deal received Accelerator Funding for investment in capital projects that would have an immediate impact and help places ‘build back better’ in the wake of Covid-19. This was effectively an early release of some of the Towns Fund money to kick-start projects up to the value of £500k in each town during the last six months of 2020. The Glastonbury Town Deal Board led a successful application for £500k of Accelerator Funding in August 2020, with the five Glastonbury Accelerator Projects being:
- Building C, Establishment of the Life Factory, Phase One
- St Edmund’s Community Hall Enhancements
- Herbie’s Field Improvements
- Glastonbury Town Centre Refurbishments
- The Glastonbury Way
The Glastonbury Town Deal Board developed and approved the Accelerator Projects, with all grant monies having to be spent by 31 March 2021. All five projects were completed on time and on budget. Over 2,200 hours of in-kind support from people in the local community made it all happen, which is a shining example of what Glastonbury can do!
The whole bid for the Glastonbury Town Investment Plan was based on a community consultation and only bids arising from that process were taken forward. In other words, a ‘bottom up’ method was used to seek the views of the people of Glastonbury.
A ‘Call for Expressions of Interest’ process was carried out where people were asked to submit ideas structured according to specific criteria, including the Towns Fund’s own requirements. As part of this ‘Call’, we asked for people’s views about Glastonbury, with the exact wording as below:
- Your vision for the Town
- What you think Glastonbury is like now
- What you feel are the main challenges facing the town, including COVID-related
- The town’s assets and strengths
- Key opportunities for the town, especially regarding green issues
- What is missing that would enhance Glastonbury?
- What single development would improve the town?
In addition, we distributed a set of postcard sized cards, and we were able to insert a request for information in the Town Council Newsletter that went to most local households. There were posts on both the Mendip District Council and Town Council websites. We received around 60 ‘Expressions of Interest’ and over 100 comments by email and telephone. We also took account of the 267 comments that were posted on the Glastonbury My Town website.
The funding has been granted for the following projects:
- Re-developing the Baily’s Buildings for business uses with community and educational spaces
- Repurposing the Beckery Resource Centre into the Glastonbury Enterprise & Innovation Hub
- Developing The Life Factory for business, learning, young people, and community uses
- Investing in low carbon energy generation through Glastonbury Clean Energy
- The Robert Richards Initiative focus is sustainability through education & training, greener buildings and active travel
- Creating a year-round visitor destination at St Brigid’s Chapel and Field
- Establishing the Glastonbury Food and Regenerative Farming Centre
- Delivering the Enabling Project to support the Town Investment Plan regeneration
- Developing the St Dunstan’s House into a Community Health and Wellbeing Centre
- Enhancing the approaches and visitor reception facilities at Glastonbury Abbey
- Developing the Glastonbury Community Sports and Leisure Hub
No, the final 11 projects within the Glastonbury Town Deal and their respective objectives have been agreed with the government so there is no opportunity to bring new projects forward under this initiative.
No, the project descriptions in the Town Investment Plan were simply an illustration of how the projects might look. Many of the details evolved as a result of local engagement and a comprehensive Business Case process, although the objectives outlined in the Town Investment Plan remain the same.
Yes, it is now. The government originally pledged the investment for Glastonbury but in order to secure the funding it was necessary to complete and submit a comprehensive HM Treasury ‘Green Book’ Business Case for each of the 11 Town Deal projects. This process involved analysis of the strategic, economic, commercial, financial and management aspects of each project, as well as the identification of clear and measurable outcomes that would result in social and financial value for Glastonbury. All of the Business Cases were submitted to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in June 2022, with the full £23.6m Town Deal funding being confirmed in September 2022.
The Glastonbury Town Deal Board first met in January 2020, then did not meet again until July 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. From July 2020, they met monthly online until the end of January 2021 and now they meet roughly every six weeks. Minutes of the meetings can be found on the Town Deal Board page of this website.
Following the community consultation and Call for Expressions of Interest, the projects that were to be included in the Town Investment Plan were selected in October 2020. The Glastonbury Town Investment Plan was submitted to the government in January 2021, with an application for £24.5m of funding to deliver the projects outlined within it. In June 2021, a Heads of Terms Letter was received with an offer of £23.6m to fund the projects, subject to completion of Business Cases. Confirmation paperwork was submitted to the government at the end of August 2021 and full Business Cases for each project were then developed. Following a rigorous internal assurance process, these were submitted to the government in June 2022. The full £23.6million Towns Fund investment for Glastonbury was confirmed by the government in late September 2022.
This will vary from one project to another but, in line with government requirements, all of the funding must be spent by the end of March 2026.
Yes, we are keen to work with local businesses/suppliers and will be building this into the procurement and contracting process for the projects. Procurement terms will require businesses to employ people from the town wherever possible, providing opportunities for local businesses that meet the criteria, as well as other businesses with specialist skills and knowledge that are prepared to invest in local people.
Businesses and suppliers interested in working on the Town Deal projects should send their contact details and a summary of their services/skills to the following email address: email@example.com
This initiative is grounded in the local community and, while Somerset Council (and previously Mendip District Council) is involved as the Accountable Body for the Glastonbury Town Deal, it is very much driven by local people. The Glastonbury Town Deal Board probably includes more local residents than any other in the country, including five local community representatives. Meanwhile the project leaders are predominantly local people with a drive and passion to deliver better facilities and services for their community. Most of the projects have their own team of dedicated volunteers and anyone interested in getting involved is encouraged to get in touch with the Town Deal team in the first instance at firstname.lastname@example.org
Somerset Council is now the accountable body (it was previously Mendip District Council), which means that it holds the contract with the government and is ultimately responsible for ensuring that things happen as specified within the Grant Funding Agreement. The Glastonbury Town Deal Board advises and is an integral part of the process. All key documents are signed off by both the Council and the Chair of the Glastonbury Town Deal Board.
The overall programme is led by the Programme Manager at Somerset Council (previously it was Mendip District Council), and each project has a Project Leader and Project Team. All parties will be working together on a Delivery Committee that reports to the Glastonbury Town Deal Board.
The Town Deal funding has the potential to revitalise Glastonbury:
- Making it a ‘greener’, more sustainable town
- Regenerating derelict buildings in a sensitive, sympathetic way
- Creating more employment opportunities for local residents
- Enabling growth opportunities for businesses
- Boosting skills development for people of all ages, including higher level skills
- Enhancing the tourism offer and appeal of the town
- Focusing on the health and wellbeing of local residents
- Providing better services for residents and businesses in the area
- …and much more.
No, all of the funding is coming from central government – through the Towns Fund scheme, which is part of its Levelling Up agenda.
All funds will now flow through Somerset Council (as they did with Mendip District Council prior to the new unitary authority) as the accountable body for the grant allocation. An accountable body generally takes responsibility for the legal and financial management of a grant given to a particular project or projects. The Council’s Section 151 Officer oversees the accountable body function. As such, the Council works to government guidance and will eventually be reporting to government and the Glastonbury Town Deal Board.
As well as the Council’s role as the accountable body, the operation of the Glastonbury Town Deal, including financial, is overseen by the Glastonbury Town Deal Board which will receive detailed financial reporting once the grant allocations start to be received. This reporting will be recorded in the Board minutes which are posted regularly on this website. Please note that some confidential information may necessarily be excluded if it is ‘commercial in confidence’. Both the Council and the Glastonbury Town Deal Board are committed to working in an open and transparent manner.
The projects are being overseen by members of the local community, and there will be many opportunities to engage along the way. The aim is for all parts of the Glastonbury community to benefit from the Town Deal funding.
There is a wide range of information on this website, including summaries of each the projects, board member profiles, all the latest news and more. We have a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, so people can follow us on their preferred social media platforms. We are sharing news and updates with the local print, online and broadcast media. In addition, we have run a series of open day events to share information about the individual projects with the local community, plus some project-specific events and open days may be organised as the individual projects get underway.