Towns Fund Investment
Towns Fund is a £3.6 billion fund established by the government to level up towns and cities around the country.
In Autumn 2019, the government invited 100 towns and cities across the country to submit proposals for funding from GOV.UK - Towns Fund.
Preston was one of the cities awarded £20.9 million of Town's Funding to support a series of regeneration projects in the Harris Quarter with the aim of improving Preston City Centre's leisure and cultural offer.
These projects will make up the first stage of Preston's ambitions 15 year City Investment Plan (2020 - 2035).
Through the Towns Fund Strategic Board, there has been many discussions with residents, businesses and other organisations to identify projects that will help deliver a huge economic and cultural benefit to the city.
Towns Fund Strategic Board members
The following Board members meet quarterly, or as required, to discuss funding initiatives and ideas:
- John Chesworth (Chair) - Managing Partner of Harrison Drury
- Rob Binns - Director of Cotton Court
- Councillor Matthew Brown - Leader of Preston City Council
- Councillor Peter Moss - Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Planning and Regulation at Preston City Council
- Adrian Phillips - Chief Executive of Preston City Council
- Sir Mark Hendrick - Member of Parliament for Preston
- Phil Green - Director of Growth, Planning and Estates at Lancashire County Council
- Melanie Close - CEO of Disability Equality North West
- Dr Lis Smith - Principal and Chief Executive of Preston's College
- Anne-Marie Parkinson - Investment Programme Manager at Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP)
- Rachel Mulhearn - Interim Head of Culture - The Harris
- Ruth Connor - Executive Director of Strategic Marketing at The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)
How the Board decided which projects received funding
31 projects were put forward for consideration. Not all projects were eligible for the funding, so the board shortlisted the submissions.
Each project was ranked based on critical success factors. This helped the board to decide how closely each project matched the government's vision for Towns Fund - to drive the sustainable economic regeneration of our towns for long-term economic and productivity growth.
Some projects may also aid in Preston's recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and attract further private investment to the city.
Shortlisted projects had to fit the following criteria:
- be delivered in the 2021 - 2026 timeframe
- contribute to inclusive growth
- align with Preston's key strategies and policies
To find out which projects were shortlisted to receive Towns Fund see shortlisted projects.
The shortlisted projects will now move forward in their development starting with the Harris Quarter Pop-Ups Programme, a series of cultural events, installations and visitor attractions in Preston aimed at bringing in more residents and visitors to the city centre.
The programme is delivered through £1 million in accelerated funding as part of the Towns Deal and the governments aim to help places 'build back better' in the wake of Covid-19.