Breathing new life into Truro

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Truro Regeneration Company chair, Rupert Hume-Kendall

Plans to breathe new life into Truro by transforming empty or dilapidated properties into new sustainable places for people to live and work in the city centre have taken a major step forward this week with the official launch of the new company which will deliver the Truro Town Deal funded project.

Led by Truro City Council, the New Life for City Buildings project will help to revitalise the city centre by refurbishing, renovating and repurposing empty spaces above shops and on the edge of the city.

“This is an incredibly exciting project which will see new life breathed into our city centre,” said the Mayor of Truro, Councillor Carol Swain.

“Although Truro is rightly renowned for its historic buildings and grand Georgian and Victorian architecture, we recognise that many of the buildings have upper stories which are empty and unused. There are also a number of empty or poorly repaired commercial buildings on the outskirts of the city which need some TLC.

“We want to protect and celebrate our heritage and cultural assets and encourage more people to live and work in the city centre by transforming these buildings. We have created a new community interest company to manage the New Life for City Buildings project and look forward to working with them and other partners and stakeholders to regenerate our city.”

Truro is one of four places in Cornwall to be awarded a share of the £3.6 billion Town Deal funding by the Government as part of its Levelling Up ambition, securing £23.6 million to regenerate the city and boost the local economy.

Alan Stanhope, chair of the Truro Town Deal Board, added: “The New Life for City Buildings project is one of seven projects which have been approved to receive Town Deal Funding in Truro. The project will receive £3.3 million from Truro’s Town Deal programme to support its work during the next two years.

“Recognising the need to bring property, business and financial expertise together to ensure the project is delivered as efficiently as possible, Truro City Council have set up the Truro Regeneration Company CIC (TRC) which will provide this support through its voluntary board of five directors.”

Wholly owned by the City Council, TRC will be responsible for assessing applications and distributing grants to owners and landlords looking to transform the upper floors of their buildings to create new high quality living space in the city centre, and where appropriate, buying and regenerating unused buildings so they can then be resold rather than lying empty.

Its chair, Rupert Hume-Kendall, said: “The Regeneration Company is indeed looking to inject new life into city centre buildings using Town Deal funding on a matched basis with owners and landlords.

“The aim of the programme is to create sustainable and eco-friendly residential and office accommodation and inject vibrancy into Truro by refurbishing and repurposing dilapidated or empty properties.”

There are around 1,600 private sector businesses in Truro, many within the retail and professional services sector. The city centre currently has an estimated 25,000 sq m of empty or redundant space. As well as making more creative use of this space and protecting community assets, the project will also improve energy efficiency and future proof buildings and provide sustainable employment and apprenticeship opportunities within the construction industry.

Details of the grant scheme and application process are currently being finalised, with an invitation to owners and landlords to submit Expressions of Interest for grant support expected to be published later this month. Landlords and owners of properties will be expected to contribute at least 50% of the cost of the works and will be responsible for overseeing the construction.

All applications for grants will be considered by the TRC board against the criteria set out in the funding agreement between Truro City Council and the Truro Towns Fund.

As well as leading on the New Life for City Buildings project, Truro City Council is also developing the Boscawen Sport and Recreation Hub Town Deal project which will provide new and improved indoor and outdoor sports and leisure facilities at Boscawen Park.