About the Market Town Regeneration Fund
In November 2015, we invited bids from our 11 town councils for a slice of £4m in capital funding to help reinvigorate their market towns. The money has been made available from our own funds and provides the opportunity for the town councils to work in partnership with us. Aimed principally at market towns facing pressures from significant population growth, this two-year initiative (from 2016 - 2018) is backed by the continuing work we are delivering in areas of regeneration, business support, employment and skills.
Town councils were invited to submit bids, in conjunction with local businesses and the wider community, which demonstrated a comprehensive approach to making better places; unlocking barriers to growth and creating economic uplift that improves the quality of local life.
A total of 11 bids were submitted from the town councils. Following assessment of the bids, 7 bids were given approval with initiatives going forward in the towns of Ampthill, Dunstable, Flitwick, Leighton Buzzard, Potton, Sandy and Shefford, totalling a fund investment of approximately £2.5 million and levering nearly £3 million in match funding from the town councils and local partners.
- installation of new town centre entry signs and relocation of existing signs
- creation of Heritage Trail
- installation of lamp post banners for promotion of town events, businesses and Christmas decorations
- creation and promotion of annual events programme
- purchase of cleansing machines
- architectural lighting on agreed buildings
- Priory House undercroft restoration feasibility works
- new entrance features for Priory Gardens
- installation of splash park and catering outlet
- toilet refurbishment in The Quadrant
- re-introduce an activities programme
- signage and street furniture
- High Street and Station Road enhancement (Barclay's bank area) and creation of car park on Station Road
- railway bridge enhancement (public art)
- enhanced library service
- feasibility study by Ringway Jacobs (our highways contractor) for highways works
- sale of town council-owned land for extra care scheme (managing the needs of older people) on Station Road
- installation of variable electronic signage
- new market stalls and associated equipment (transportation equipment, weights, lights and cabling), permanent and temporary advertising fixings installed
- training programme for market traders around product presentation, marketing, social media promotions, etc.
- architectural lighting
- installation of planters, an architectural light scheme, enhancement of Christmas lighting, demountable lighting poles
- creation of new car parking spaces
- establishment of chamber of commerce and business networks
- improvement to cycle ways and cycle racks in place
- promotion / advertising for heritage tourism
- install new / improved wayfinding signage, improved lighting environment, resurfacing of market place and an increase in parking provision
- installation of a covered market stand
- promotion of Chamber of Trade membership
- Story In Stone - mosaics project places in significant parts of Biggleswade, Sandy and Potton.
- installation of new public realm features including benches, lamp post banners, removal of bollards, de-cluttering
- refurbishment of public toilets
- erection of heritage style town entry signs
- rejuvenate Drover's Spinney
- installation of new markets infrastructure, new stalls and permanent power outlets
- organisation of three more annual street activities / events