Boston's regeneration: Transformational £14.8m government grant backs council vision
Boston Borough Council has successfully secured £14.8m from the Government Levelling Up Fund to kick-start regeneration and secure further investment to the heart of the town centre.
The Levelling Up Fund is specifically designed to secure capital investment in infrastructure that has the potential to improve lives and give people pride in their communities. Boston's Rosegarth Square masterplan, forming part of PE21, seeks to revitalise and repurpose the area between the River Witham and the bus station - particularly focusing on the area of the former Dunelm/B&M building and the vacant Crown House building.
A new public park, spanning the area between the river and the Len Medlock Centre will provide a new place for people. New green spaces, improved pedestrian routes, artwork and other features seek to create an inviting, safe, accessible and enjoyable place for all, as well as offering significant environmental enhancements.
Alongside this, works to convert Crown House to provide a mix of residential and other uses to support young people and families, will see this building visually improved and positively enhance its presence.
Works to demolish the existing B&M building as enabling works to future re-development will also be undertaken; taken together these interventions will improve the appearance of the area and address some local challenges from anti-social behaviour and crime.
In conjunction with the proposed works, a programme of community engagement will be undertaken, including a linked archaeology project, to better understand the history of the site, influence the emerging designs, and link the areas past to its future.
Collectively these interventions are intended to be high-quality, and make significant impact both for the short and longer-term. They will revitalise this large brownfield site and act as a catalyst for further positive inward investment and the regeneration ambition for the area. The aim is to change the character and appearance of this area, create opportunities for new uses and homes, create jobs, support the economy and the community, and create a place where people want to live, work and enjoy.
Securing this level of public investment, supplemented by further match funding, will act as the catalyst for the wider re-development of this prominent, and unique place so that it makes a positive contribution to the area and becomes a place people can be proud of and which complements the setting of Boston Stump and the core of the town centre around the Market Place. It comes on top of Boston Borough Council's successful bids to the Towns Fund.
The proposal was initially submitted in August 2022, and the Council will now seek to mobilise quickly to access and draw down the funding from Government and seek to re-engage with our partners to move the scheme on to the detailed design and delivery phases. Further engagement will also be undertaken as the proposals are developed.
Cllr Nigel Welton, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth at Boston Borough Council said: "Since submitting the bid in early August, we have been eagerly awaiting to hear the result - and we are absolutely thrilled to be able to say that we have been successful in our bid, and have been allocated £14.8million from the Levelling Up Fund.
"This is another great example of the public and private sector working together to help bring investment into Boston. This forward-thinking council is focussed on doing all that it can to help improve the economy, create new job opportunities and install a sense of pride for residents in the town. This is an ambitious scheme which we hope to bring real change for Boston for future generations. We want to continually improve the town and help to raise aspirations and this investment will play a key role in that."
The funding announcement comes as several regeneration and improvement projects start to take shape in Boston following Town Deal funding from the Government, also part of the Levelling Up agenda.
Historic shop fronts are being renovated as part of plans to attract more investment; improvements at Boston Railway Station are proposed; and other projects to transform the health, wellbeing and education through the Boston Leisure and Mayflower projects all seek to create new opportunities for residents as well as attracting new visitors to the area.
Matt Warman, Member of Parliament for Boston and Skegness, said, "The government has backed the Council's bold, ambitious vision for Boston, and awarded major funding that many other towns were also bidding for. The success of Boston Borough Council in securing their full £14.8 million bid in the face of stiff competition across the UK demonstrates the transformative quality of this comprehensive plan to regenerate a currently neglected and run down part of our town in a sustainable way. Linking with improvements made within the £21.9 million Boston Town Deal, residents and visitors to Boston will see their route through the town renewed with both new high quality building projects and sympathetic renovation and reinstatement of historic features. Council leaders and officers have worked in partnership with government and business to bring contemporary housing, hospitality and retail options within a newly created urban green space. And with every £1 of public money spent here bringing a benefit of £2.80 to our local area as well as creating jobs it's great value for taxpayers too.''
Simon Dancer, Director at AMION Consulting, said: ""This much-needed government investment will enable the regeneration and revival of Boston Town Centre, playing a critical role in levelling up locally. It will create both a green corridor, as well as a catalyst for redevelopment."
Caroline Killeavy, Chief Executive Officer of YMCA Lincolnshire: "The plans for the masterplan area, developed through strong partnerships between the public, private and voluntary community sectors who all have local residents needs in mind, are both inspirational and ambitious.
"In addition to enabling new quality housing and employment opportunities in the Town, this funding will be used to enable an enhanced quality of life for those who live and work locally. We want everyone to have pride in Boston - it's a great place to be and deserves this investment. YMCA Lincolnshire is thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside such innovative and skilled partners, and looks forward to contributing to the much needed regeneration of this area of Town."
Steve Moore, Senior Preconstruction Manager of Willmott Dixon said: "I am delighted to hear that South & East Lincolnshire Councils' Partnership's LUF2 funding bid has been successful.
"It's now just a matter of time before the regeneration project becomes a reality, which is hugely exciting for us at Willmott Dixon after supporting the bid. This vital funding will transform the area into a vibrant space, improving access links to Boston town centre and providing more health and wellbeing resources for local people."
The Council hopes this investment will unlock further opportunities in this area to deliver homes, health-facilities and new employment spaces.
Paul Kelly, Group Development Director at Scarborough Group International (SGI), commented: "SGI has a long-standing relationship with Boston Borough Council as a result of our ownership of a major retail asset located in Boston town centre, which forms a significant part of the PE21 Masterplan.
"We're delighted to have worked in partnership with the Council and other key stakeholders to support the now successful bid, which will significantly accelerate the development of this strategic regeneration project, by unlocking the full potential of uses, driving footfall into the town centre and acting as a catalyst for wider investment."
The Government is supporting all the LUF projects put forward by the whole of the South & East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership with £14.8million awarded to Boston Borough Council, £20million to South Holland District Council and £8million in East Lindsey.
Each scheme will see projects which will be transformational for each district for generations to come, through job creation, new opportunities, driving inward investment and supporting the health and wellbeing of residents.