Important funding to help breathe life into a new community and make old buildings fit for a carbon-neutral future has been secured by Stroud District Council.
Stroud District Council, as a partner in the Gloucestershire One Public Estate Programme, has secured a total of £976,000 for two projects from The Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government.
A £776,000 Land Release Funding grant will support infrastructure and flood alleviation measures to unlock the Brimscombe Port site for redevelopment.
A further £200,000 from the Zero Carbon Public Estate fund will be used to explore how to rationalise, repurpose and retrofit sites including SDC’s Ebley Mill HQ, the Old Town Hall in Stroud, Thanet House (Stroud Town Council HQ), Lansdown Hall, Stroud Subscription Rooms, Stroud Job Centre, Stroud Ambulance Station, and Stroud Fire Station.
“As a council we have a strategy to make the whole district carbon neutral by 2030 and this will help in that effort,” said SDC Leader Doina Cornell.
“Our bids ranked among the biggest nationally out of over 170 One Public Estate partnerships. This is a massive vote of confidence, not only in the quality and ambition of the bids but also in our ability to deliver.”
The vision for Brimscombe Port is a reinstated canal and basin at the heart of a sustainable new residential-led mixed use community that meets the needs of both existing and future residents, and winning this funding is a huge leap forward to realise the ambition of the scheme and the economic, social and environmental benefits it will bring for the immediate area and the wider district.
This funding will enable the Council to be able to contribute a significant amount of the costs associated with the necessary but complicated infrastructure, de-risking the project still further and giving confidence to the market. If follows the recent grant of planning permission for the canal, river and highway infrastructure and approval to procure a developer partner to work alongside the Council .
This redevelopment will deliver better cycling and walking links, environmental improvements, a tourist destination, space for community and social enterprise to set up and flourish and energy efficient housing, including a minimum of policy level (30%) affordable homes.
The Zero Carbon Public Estate funding will explore town centre regeneration through the redevelopment, co-location and rationalising of publicly owned land and buildings; the delivery of new homes to high energy efficiency standards; the delivery of financial savings and carbon savings; the provision of new training opportunities and a pilot scheme for developing practical skills in the retro-fitting of public buildings, to stimulate a green recovery and a new skills supply that is replicable across a wider area.
It is a project led by SDC with partners including Gloucestershire County Council, the Department of Work and Pensions, NHS Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, Stroud Town Council and Network Rail.
Cllr Lynden Stowe, Deputy Leader of Gloucestershire County Council, and Cabinet Member for Finance and Change, said: “We’re delighted to have supported Stroud District Council in securing this money. As the lead for One Gloucestershire Estate we have worked closely with Stroud District Council and other partners to grasp this funding opportunity to both regenerate Brimscombe Port and enhance our ambitious carbon reduction targets through better use of public buildings. The benefits and learning from this opportunity will be used with other partners and projects in the rest of the county.”
SDC Environment Committee Chair, Chloe Turner added: “We know that retro-fitting of existing buildings to improve their energy efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions is a top priority identified by the Government’s Committee on Climate Change. We know that buildings are the second biggest source of CO2 emissions in the district, after transport.”
As well as individual properties, sites including Beeches Green, currently used for health and education and the railway station and adjacent Cheapside public car park, in Stroud town centre will be part of the first phase.
A Stroud Town Council spokesperson said: “We welcome the opportunity to work with other public sector organisations to improve public buildings in Stroud. Improving the energy performance of our buildings is a high priority for us as we work towards our target of being carbon neutral by 2030.”