funding bid is submitted for Highbridge art regeneration project
A bid for £250,000 of European funding to transform part
of Highbridge town centre into an 'arts and crafts quarter' has
this week been formally submitted.
councillor Phil Harvey has worked with Sedgemoor District Council
to submit the outline bid for funding from the European Regional
of the bid was announced at a meeting of Burnham and Highbridge
Town Council on Wednesday night.
first reported by Burnham-On-Sea.com earlier this year, the proposals
for Highbridge would see a dozen boarded-up shops along Market
Street being transformed into workshops, studios and retail outlets
to be used by artists and crafts people.
group of Highbridge councillors, led by Phil Harvey, has put forward
the plans. He told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "Our bid is for £250,000
- the minimum amount - and it was submitted by Sedgemoor District
Council on our behalf by this week's deadline. It will require
match-funding from private/ public sources in money or in kind
and we should hear later this summer whether we have been successful."
It was revealed on Wednesday that the South-West's European Regional
Development Fund has a £20m underspend, helping the chances
of Highbridge gaining funding.
Harvey explained how the money would be used if the bid is successful:
"Market Street has a significant number of empty shops and
business premises and, realistically, it is never going to be
able to re-establish itself as a shopping street with a traditional
mix of shops such as a greengrocer, butcher or grocer able to
compete with the two supermarkets in the town."
best option is to establish itself as a 'destination', somewhere
that people go to because it offers something different. It needs
a unique selling point that has proved to be successful in other
towns faced with similar problems."
am proposing that Market Street should therefore seek to become
a community of artists and craftsmen and women in which the premises
are both workshops, studios and retail outlets. The rationale
for this is that the vacant premises will not be able to attract
high rental values, even with upgrading, but such premises may
be attractive to those in the artistic and craft community seeking
work and retail space."
"Also, establishing a number of such outlets provides synergy
and establishes Market Street as a 'destination' where a number
of different but complementary arts and crafts can be viewed and
Harvey told Wednesday's meeting that he has spoken with Creative
Somerset, an umbrella organisation for artists in the county,
which has given its backing to the scheme.
Neville Jones also welcomed news of the bid. "I congratulate
Cllr Harvey on this initiative so far and hope the bid for funding
Ken Smout added his support to the scheme, saying that he hopes
traders in Highbridge will rally behind the project.
Cllr Phil Harvey and Joe Leach with a copy of the proposals