Over 350 people attended an open day event at Glastonbury Town Hall on 25th February to find out more about the 12 community-led Town Deal projects and share their feedback with the project teams.
The event took place from midday until 7pm, with a steady flow of visitors throughout the day. Local residents were able to speak to the people behind the individual projects, asking questions and sharing their thoughts and suggestions, which will feed into the Business Case process that is currently underway.
A similar open day event is planned for late April or early May, and details will be published on the Glastonbury Town Deal website and social media pages once confirmed.
Tanya Dawson is part of the team behind The Life Factory project, which aims to regenerate the iconic Red Brick Building C to provide a vibrant, shared resource for young people, businesses, learning and community uses. She said:
“It’s been brilliant to see so many people come through the door today, asking questions and trying to find out how the projects fit in their world. This is really the first time we’ve had a chance to talk to everyone in person because this whole process started just before the first lockdown. Today has been about bringing everything to life, adding colour and connecting with people, and we’ve had some very interesting feedback too. I’m delighted that we’ve got this chance to resurrect these old buildings and make them make sense again, creating more opportunities for the children and grandchildren of this town. The long-term gains of the Town Deal projects are going to be immeasurable.”
Bob Croft from the South West Heritage Trust was at the event representing the St Brigid’s Chapel and Field project, which aims to create a new year-round visitor destination that will protect, interpret and make accessible the heritage and natural environment of some 33 acres. He commented:
“Today was a great day and a really good opportunity to engage face-to-face with people about the project. We’ve had a constant flow of people here asking questions about what we’re going to do, how we’re going to do it, how much it’s going to cost, and we’ve been able to respond to all their questions and gather some useful feedback. The vast majority of people we’ve spoken to have been very positive about the project and the benefits it will provide. This project will help to provide access to the countryside; provide information on heritage, myths and legends associated with Beckery and Glastonbury, and it will enable people to discover and experience nature and their local environment. We know this project can deliver real benefits for the people of Glastonbury and the surrounding areas.”
Glastonbury Cricket Club is one of several sports clubs involved in the Glastonbury Community Sports and Leisure Hub project, which aims to regenerate facilities to provide a new multi-use centre of excellence in the heart of the town for sports, training, education and health & wellbeing support. Heather Hall, Chair of Glastonbury Cricket Club, said:
“This event has provided a great opportunity to talk to members of the local community and to explain what the Sports and Leisure Hub could offer for Glastonbury. As a multi-sport and community hub, this is a very exciting, transformational project that will make a world of difference to us at the Cricket Club and to the town as a whole. People have had lots of questions and we’ve been able to explain the vision for this project to them and reassure them that it’s a very positive thing for the town. It’ll be something for the whole community to benefit from, whether that’s through playing sport, watching sport, socialising, or just being outside in an amazing space with the beautiful backdrop of Glastonbury Tor. The event has made it more real for people to be able to see what’s going on and visualise what it could be like in the future.”
Glastonbury is one of 101 towns in the UK to receive investment as part of the government’s Towns Fund scheme. Set to bring £23.6m of investment into the town, it received the highest award in the South West and one of the highest per capita in England.
The comprehensive Business Cases required by the government for each of the projects are currently being developed by the Glastonbury Town Deal Board, individual project teams and Mendip District Council. Although the overarching projects and outcomes are fixed, the detail of each project is yet to be confirmed, which is why feedback from the local community is being gathered through these open day events. The Business Cases must be submitted to the government by the end of June 2022, with funds being released as and when the individual Business Cases have been approved. The Glastonbury Town Investment Plan was developed by the Town Deal Board through engagement with key partners, businesses, community groups and Mendip District Council as the lead authority. It aims to deliver a necessary ‘levelling up’ opportunity for the town, bringing existing assets back into community use, and working with local communities to develop 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.