Updated: Dec 10, 2020
omerset West and Taunton Council has approved the creation of a £500,000 fund to support town centres across the district as part of their commitment to recovery, investment, jobs and opportunity. The Emergency Town Centre Recovery Fund (ETCRF) is a special fund to support, rebuild and transform High Streets with short-term interventions to help secure the future of local Town Centres.
Minehead has been awarded £100,000 from this fund and it has been agreed that Minehead BID with a proven track record in delivering for the town would be the custodian of this money. A legally-binding service level agreement has now been signed between the two organisations.
The indicative plan submitted to the council by the BID included a programme with a strong focus on marketing, public realm improvements and training for businesses which would encourage people to come back to Minehead as and when the covid restrictions are lifted.
The Fund is separate to the day to day work of Minehead BID and the projects funded by the BID levy will continue as planned during 2021. A separate Steering Group has now been formed to agree and deliver projects and interventions over the next 12 months.
The Steering Group will compromise 7 members and will have a strong steer from the local business community and will be chaired by Julian Abraham, Owner of the Old Ship Aground. Julian will be joined by 3 other business representatives, Jon Lee of Stuarts Home Furnishers, Debbie Sawatzki of Lovely Boutique and Graham Sizer, Minehead BID Chair. Cllr Anne Lawton will represent Minehead Town Council, Cllr Andy Hadley, Somerset West and Taunton and Cllr Mandy Chilcott, Somerset County Council.
The group will be supported by officers from Minehead BID, Minehead Information Centre, Minehead Town Council and SWT.
Julian Abrahams, Chair of the Emergency Town Centre Recovery Fund Steering Group and owner of the Old Ship Aground on Minehead Harbour said “The Fund is a great show of commitment by Somerset West and Taunton Council of how important a vibrant town centre is. This is an opportunity for the Minehead Business Improvement District to demonstrate a great show of strength by supporting its retail community in these unprecedented times.
“Through BID this emergency fund will in addition to its usual programme of activities help reset the local economy towards a recovery. With targeted well implemented strategies in marketing, training as well as looking to further invest in public realm enhancements.
“Clearly our business community faces huge challenges, but by working together we can take bold steps toward the better future, which are undoubtably around the corner.”
Cllr Marcus Kravis, Portfolio Holder for Asset Management and Economic Development at Somerset West and Taunton said “We have been working collaboratively to do everything we can to support our businesses and traders as they take these steps towards re-opening our high streets and retail centres.
“I would like to thank all those who have worked with us and share our commitment to reopening our shops and supporting our traders.
“This will be an evolving situation as restrictions change, and we will continue working with our partners to tailor our response to any needs identified as we move forwards towards economic recovery.”