Senior Calderdale councillors approved accepting the Towns Fund cash – this has to be done before it can be received – for Brighouse and Todmorden, £36.6 million which can be now spent on projects in their areas.
Calderdale Council is the responsible organisation for the spending of the money and has to sign off the project business cases, to say that they are legal and sound, Coun Jane Scullion told Cabinet colleagues.
Coun Scullion (Lab, Luddenden Foot), who is Cabinet member for Regeneration and Strategy, said around 100 applications had been made to the fund and Brighouse and Todmorden were two of the successful ones.
Brighouse has been allocated £19.1 million and Todmorden £17.5 million.
As well as approving accepting the money, which will now go to the towns, Cabinet members also approved a streamlined approvals process for business cases on projects.
In order to meet some challenging deadlines set by the fund, approval of business cases for schemes can be delegated to certain officers and senior councillors – these are the Director of Regeneration and Strategy, Shelagh O’Neill, in consultation with the Cabinet member for Regeneration and Strategy, which is currently Coun Jane Scullion (Lab, Luddenden Foot), and Head of Finance, currently Nigel Broadbent, although Mr Broadbent is retiring.
Coun Scullion said this will maximise the time available to develop the projects, allowing the Town Boards who have developed the schemes to start contracting and put necessary arrangements in place as quickly as possible.
Coun Silvia Dacre (Lab, Todmorden), Cabinet member for Resources, said she was also a member of the Todmorden board said delegation was vital as it had a large number of projects it wanted to deliver.
Some of the sponsors had not has past experience of preparing business cases and time adds pressure.
“The time available is very challenging and we need as much time available as possible so the business cases can be prepared to the satisfactory standard and approved,” she said.
Coun Jenny Lynn (Lab, Park) said the Brighouse scheme sounded fantastic, connecting up the canalside with the town square and the focus on skills and attention to apprenticeships was very positive as the town had such a strong manufacturing base.
Leader of the Council, Coun TimSwift (Lab, Town) said the 1950s and 60s had seen towns encouraged to turn their backs on rivers and canals but they were assets and proposals brought more opportunities for much greater use of them.
In Brighouse, other schemes include revitalising Brighouse Market, enhancing the town’s retail and leisure offer, urban greening and encouraging active travel including for pedestrians and cyclists
In Todmorden, schemes include developing Bramsche Square as a meeting place and key link between the Town Hall, Market and Central Methodist Church, modernising the outdoor market, improving and increasing use of the Grade I listed Town hall, a “comprehensive” project to improve Centre Vale Park including bandstand, tennis courts and the adjacent Fielden Hall, redesigning and refurbishing the Hippodrome Theatre, building a high quality three-storey enterprise centre as a location for business start-ups, and improving cycling – including a cycle centre – and walking links around the town.
Helping Todmorden Learning Centre and Community Hub – the former Todmorden Community College building on Burnley Road – become a centre for education and skills development, with a focus on climate change education, agro-ecology, sustainable living and natural building, is planned with eco-improvements made to the building, and money has also been set aside to develop a Riverside Outdoor Activity sports park at Bellholme, Walsden.
Murmuration Workshops offering hands-on vocational training in the arts and offering affordable space and high-end equipment and tools to grow creative businesses, also attracting more tourism.
In the case of both Todmorden and Brighouse, management costs take up remaining elements of the awards, with each potential schemes having to be green-lighted by the Government through the bidding and award process.
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