An ambitious plan which will see South Lakeland District Council contribute more than £500,000 towards the development of projects to boost Kendal has been agreed.
Councillors approved £531,294 of core support over the next three years to Kendal Futures Community Interest Company (CIC) to deliver activities identified in the Kendal Vision and Kendal Town Centre Strategy.
The money will comprise £150,000 over three years to Kendal Futures CIC for the role of a Vision Manager and associated delivery group work, as well as £135,294 to appoint professional services to develop agreed projects in the Kendal Vision and Kendal Town Centre Strategy.
SLDC will additionally put to use S106 developer contributions received by the council from the Sainsbury’s supermarket development in Kendal, contributing up to £246,000 for a Kendal Station Gateway public realm improvement scheme, enhancing the immediate pedestrian route into the town centre.
Kendal Futures CIC would seek to secure additional private and public sector funding to increase the investment into Kendal and sustain the project beyond the initial three-year period.
Councillor Robin Ashcroft, Portfolio Holder for Economy, Culture and Leisure, said: “The focus of this project is very much on delivery and ‘placemaking’ – making an environment and infrastructure that is attractive to people and supports not just the economy but social, cultural and environmental benefits as well.”
He added that there was a real commitment to roll this project model out to other communities in South Lakeland in the future.
Kendal Vision and the Kendal Town Centre Strategy, which were launched jointly in March this year, contain a wide range of complementary projects and initiatives to enhance Kendal town centre.
Together, the Strategy and Vision have the potential to deliver:
- The redevelopment of over 20ha of under-utilised land and buildings in Kendal, identified as opportunity sites.
- 400 new homes and the upgrading/repurposing of existing buildings to provide over 1,000 more energy efficient, affordable town centre houses.
- Over 5ha of new and enhanced employment space, including office and industrial, as well as improved areas for markets and creative industries.
- 10ha of improved habitat, recreation space and public realm in and around Kendal town centre.
Priority projects and areas for enhancement are identified as including Kendal Station Gateway, Market Hall, Market Place and Westmorland Shopping Centre, Abbot Hall Art Gallery (linking to the Brewery Arts Centre and wider area), Canal Head and the Riverside Corridor.
Mark Cropper, Chairman of Kendal Futures, said: “This is an exciting time for Kendal and, on behalf of Kendal Futures, I’d like to thank South Lakeland District Council for their commitment to supporting the Vision and the positive developments it can bring. We look forward to working with them, and the local community to make Kendal a better place for us all.”
The funding will enable the appointment of a Vision Manager, establish delivery groups, support the development of funding applications and appoint professional services to develop agreed projects and initiatives.
It is believed that developing projects into well-formed proposals and demonstrating proof of delivery capability will attract new funding streams and private sector investment.
The focus will be on the shared aspirations and guiding principles in the Kendal Vision and Kendal Town Centre Strategy of:
- Increasing the quality of public realm in the town centre;
- Enhancing key assets and their surrounding areas;
- Repurposing underutilised space in the town;
- Delivering quality, affordable housing close to the town centre;
- Delivering employment and start-up opportunities in the town centre;
- Improving public transport, cycling and walking opportunities;
- Creating a more sustainable Kendal.
Kendal has also been selected for a High Street Task Force national pilot and an ‘Unlocking your Place Potential’ visit took place yesterday (16 December), when a place expert toured the town and met with SLDC, Kendal Futures and other key stakeholders to hear more about their plans and discuss how to help realise them.
SLDC News Release – 17th December 2020
Kendal Vision was produced by Kendal Futures, the private/public sector regeneration partnership for the town, and funded by several of the town’s larger employers, driven by a desire to secure the town’s future success and prosperity and meet the needs of their workforce.
The Vision was developed following a comprehensive community engagement process to understand the views and perspectives of Kendal’s people, organisations and businesses.
The Kendal Futures partnership itself has been jointly funded by, and had representation from SLDC, Cumbria County Council’s South Lakeland Local Committee and Kendal Town Council since 2008. Kendal Futures, established as a Community Interest Company in 2019, has board members from a cross-section of strategic employers, including Kendal College, South Lakes Housing, The Brewery Arts Centre, Lakeland Arts, James Cropper, Edwin Thompson and Napthens, who represent wider groups, sectors and interests. Kendal BID, Cumbria Chamber of Commerce and Cumbria LEP are also represented.
The Council’s own Kendal Town Centre Strategy was similarly informed by stakeholder consultation and, together, the Kendal Town Centre Strategy and Kendal Vision provide inspiration for change, focusing on placemaking and a partnership approach.