Worksop Town Centre Project Plan
The Masterplan covers the period from 2020 to 2040. This is a ‘living’ document and will be updated annually to reflect changes, priorities and funding streams becoming available. Site proposals will be added once the Development Plan Document has progressed.
Some of its proposals are complex and long term, whilst others are simpler and can be delivered more quickly. Delivery of quick win projects will help to stimulate community, business and investor interest whilst plans for more structural change are developed and implemented in the medium to long term, through specific site schemes identified in the Development Plan Document.
Some, such as public realm improvements, are in the hands of the Council. Others, such as the strategic flood management scheme and public transport improvements, rely on decisions and funding from other sources like the Environment Agency and the bus operators.
To influence change across the centre, the strategic projects that offer the greatest potential for positive impact by driving vitality and viability, in the short and long term and being the catalyst for wider investment are:
- The WASH and Middletons – the creation of new nodes that refocus parts of the Town Centre and break away from the classic retail-driven
environment, providing anchor activity between the Innovation District, the civic centre and the retail element of the Town Centre;
- Worksop flood management scheme – the creation of a comprehensive flood management solution to protect Worksop Town Centre in the long term and enable a vibrant housing/business/leisure quarter to be focussed around quality green/blue infrastructure;
- The extension of the historic Market Square - the extension of this key community asset in the southern part of the centre offers a new focus for leisure, restaurant and café uses whilst providing space to strengthen the cultural and community offer; and
- Re-imagined movement network – the introduction of new public space and a re-organised road network will enable the better management of vehicle movement through the Town Centre, enabling a more efficient customer focussed route for public transport to be delivered, supported by a safe, well-connected cycling and walking network to surrounding areas and key activity nodes.
- The preferred option for Bridge Street, following consultation and subject to feasibility is to create a one way single lane carriageway from south to north along Bridge Place and Bridge Street. This would include a cycle lane and allow for short term bay parking throughout the day with pavements to each side. Vehicles would turn right at the top of Bridge Street to enter from Potter Street if the old Market Square becomes a family-friendly outdoor pedestrianised space. This project allied to improvements in the wider movement network designed to support walking and cycling and public transport and multi-modal travel will ensure that economic growth is facilitated. A full feasibility
study is envisaged through the Local Plan to finalise the infrastructure interventions required.
Whilst these projects offer the greatest potential for positive impact, the resources available mean that the projects within the Masterplan will need to be delivered in phases. Alongside these physical interventions other projects will explore the further feasibility of more complex interventions providing a range of projects that can attract funding and finance and secure multiple benefits that will deliver the vision for 2040.
The Project Plan sets out the Masterplan’s proposals by project cluster, indicates the likely timescale in one of three five-year time bands below, and identifies the lead body for implementing the proposal and the likely sources of finance.
- Short term (next 5 years) – quick wins, sites in Council ownership and/ or opportunities for income generation;
- Medium term (5 to 10 years) – more complex projects; and
- Long term (10-15 years) – aspirational projects that are more challenging, will require multi-agency approach, structural change or where market conditions are less favourable.
Cost and Funding
The Government is placing more emphasis on investment in ‘place’ as a major driver of local economies. So, it is essential that it is clearly expressed how investments in the Town Centre will drive the wider economy and achieve other strategic Government priorities.
To successfully secure funds post-Covid-19, a clear vision and definition of the wider impact of investment in the Town Centre is vital. Plans need to be transformative to gain the support of agencies such as Homes England.
As a catalyst for future investment, Worksop has received funding to enable the provision of the WASH and Middletons; a starting point for further
significant projects in coming years. Significant funding has already been secured from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support the Townscape
Heritage Initiative on Bridge Street. It is important that this funding is used to lever other potential sources of funding in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for the Town Centre.
In terms of costs, the main ones from a Masterplan point of view are those related to public programmes and proposals. These need to be funded and possible sources are identified below. There are costs associated with private developments too, but these are undertaken on a commercial basis with the expectation of creating value and development profit. These will be assessed through the planning policy process for the Development Plan Document.
There are three main sources of funding that can be used to implement the Masterplan proposals. These are:
- Private sector investment – the Masterplan will increase private sector confidence and help create an environment for investment. Private sector investment will be vital in making things happen on the ground, the development of which could potentially be through public/private joint ventures.
- Public sector investment – this Masterplan has been developed at a time of economic uncertainty. The Council has allocated funding for improvements to the Town Centre and will contribute key sites. Such investment can also be used as match funding bids to agencies such as the Environment Agency.
But with development viability in Bassetlaw marginal, gap funding will be required to deliver strategic infrastructure projects. This Masterplan must be seen as a strategic opportunity to provide the rationale for securing funding for new projects by demonstrating that they form part of a comprehensive and coherent regeneration strategy for the Town Centre to lever in funding from a range of organisations, including Government agencies to enable delivery.
This match funding could come from a variety of sources including Homes England, North Notts BID, the Arts Council, National Lottery as well as the District and County Councils.
- Developer contributions/Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) – funds raised from Bassetlaw Council’s CIL and/or developer contributions, which is collected from new developments, could be used in conjunction with service and infrastructure providers to deliver infrastructure improvements across the Town Centre. This also provides a source of match funding to enable delivery of key projects.
Bassetlaw District Council owns key pieces of land in the Town Centre which, subject to planning and financial appraisal, will be made available to help deliver the Masterplan. Public space and Highway land will also be used where necessary to deliver public realm schemes. The Council will work with public sector partners like Homes England to acquire strategic sites and facilitate interventions to prepare key sites for development and/or to provide strategic infrastructure. It also has powers to acquire land compulsorily. It will make use of these compulsory powers where necessary in order to ensure the delivery of key proposals in the Masterplan. A local Asset Backed Vehicle is an option to draw down funding and finance if required.
The Worksop Town Centre Board is the key stakeholder group involved in the delivery of the Masterplan. To be effective, the Town Centre Board
needs to be able to make proactive and agile decisions so that the Town Centre can respond to change. Its purpose is to drive forward economic
growth and regeneration proposals in Worksop Centre identified in this Masterplan.
Facilitated by the Council, the Town Centre Board comprises representatives from a wide range of public and private sector organisations including the District and County Councils, the North Notts BID, the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce, and the third sector.
Having a Town Centre Board with a public, private and third sector organisation representation adds value and helps to maximise leverage of additional public/private investment, crucial to the successful delivery of this Masterplan.
The Covid-19 crisis is accelerating changes that are underway, such as in the retail sector. But it is also accelerating wider change in working patterns, as well as placing renewed focus on health and wellbeing, social exclusion, mobility, easy access to everyday facilities and an increased recognition of the importance of nature and green space in our towns. Rather than return to ‘business as usual’, in future it will be important
to consider where step change can be achieved. The Town Centre Board can help to deliver against this bigger transformative agenda, responding to the drivers of change by providing strategic oversight of the development and delivery of projects. This will require challenging the standard approach to planning and development and initiating catalytic activities such as temporary or ‘pop up’ uses. It should also seek to identify meaningful opportunities to lever in funding, and secure the support and engagement of partner organisations, including Homes England, the Environment Agency as well as other Government agencies to help deliver transformative change.
The Council will act as the link between the Town Centre Board and project leaders. It will provide the secretariat and the support to remove development barriers and create positive engagement with the development industry. Effectively, the Council will co-ordinate public sector ‘enabling’ activity, including planning policy development, development briefs, land assembly, funding applications and legal requirements, to de-risk development proposals for the private sector.
The Council’s internal delivery teams – who have a strong track record in the successful management and recent delivery of external funding and
regeneration projects - will manage the day-to-day delivery of the programme, in partnership with the relevant project delivery partners. The governance arrangements for delivery are set out below, using similar governance to business case development.
Monitoring and review
The deliverability of the Masterplan will always be sensitive to the market, changing priorities and changes in the level of funding available. The
Masterplan and its project plan is therefore a living document that should be reviewed annually to take account of changing circumstances and progress. This is an important and ongoing role for the Town Centre Board.
Last Updated on Friday, August 18, 2023