Glastonbury is one of the 100 towns in Britain listed in the government’s plan to regenerate town centres, boost business and improve infrastructure. For each town £25 million is on offer; the town must present viable and ambitious schemes.
“But time is not on our side,” said Ian Tucker, the town council’s delegate on the Town Deal board. “We must put together a plan by the end of July. People really need to think about what we could take forward to the Town Deal board.”
A special meeting of the town council on Tuesday March 3 will work on “new out-of-the-box thinking.”
Ian said: “The reason Glastonbury has got the money is that we have one of the most deprived wards in the country. So whatever we bring forward has to make a difference for us all.
“In Glastonbury we tend to do things differently from other parts of the country. Something green would accord with the new mood in the land. What we need people to come forward with are schemes that are self-sustaining, or — even better — that generate a surplus that could be reinvested in the town.”
The Town Deal board here will have 12 to 15 seats, most of them non-Glastonians. “So it seems to me it’s going to have to be Glastonbury people that come up with ideas,” Ian said.
Statutory bodies each have a seat — district and county councils, Member of Parliament, the Heart of Southwest Local Enterprise Partnership, education (Katie Quinn, principal of Strode College), and Department of Work and Pensions (Lucy Martin). Current advertisements invite business representatives — youth, health, environmental (deadline noon Feb 21).
Glastonians so far are Ian Tucker, Jill Barker (Chamber of Commerce chair) and Jacqueline Cross (NHS).
The chairman is yet to be chosen. James Heappey MP as vice-chairman meanwhile holds the reins. The chairman has to be a businessman. Various people are encouraging Ian Tucker to stand.
Bridgwater is the only other Somerset town on the Nov 1 government list of 100. Like Glastonbury, Bridgwater lost its traditional employment in the 1980s.