Goole Town Deal: Latest news from the board
The next stage of the Goole Town Deal process is underway now the £25 million outline offer from the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has been accepted. The Goole deal is £3.7 million less than requested across the portfolio of ten projects, leaving the Goole Town Deal Board and East Riding of Yorkshire Council (as the Accountable Body for the funding) until 31 August to consider and conclude three options:
- Secure additional funding from other sources to meet the shortfall.
- Eliminate projects following a review and re-prioritisation process.
- Review and reprioritise the Town Deal funding allocations across all ten of the projects.
Joseph Richardson, chair of the Goole Town Deal Board, explained: "A review of the Leeds to Goole rail project and the digital infrastructure project were the first considerations, to assess the delivery risks attached to the rail project, and options for alternate Government funding for the digital infrastructure project. The rail project has strong support from neighbouring authorities including Wakefield Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. The Board agreed to continue being the catalyst for seeking the introduction of this more frequent rail service but with a reduced Town Deal funding allocation. Similarly, digital infrastructure for Old Goole continues to be considered as high importance, should alternative central funding become available, then the Town Deal allocation would not be required".
Councillor Jane Evison, board member and portfolio holder for economic development and tourism at the council, said: "The board agreed that all ten projects outlined in the Town Investment Plan fit together to form a much needed and comprehensive package of interventions to uplift Goole town centre and ignite new investments and the economic reinvention process. As a result, I am pleased to confirm that the Goole Town Deal Board agreed to make small funding adjustments across the project portfolio, and this was confirmed to MHCLG on 31 August 2021. We expect to know within two months if this has been approved."
In the meantime, work will now begin on each project's full treasury green book business case and all business cases must be completed by June 2022. The Town Deal funding will end in March 2026 - Goole's bicentenary year.
The business case stage follows Government guidance covering five essential categories: strategic, economic, commercial, financial and management. Work will include rigorous analysis of quality data, value for money assessments, an economic rationale justifying the use of public funds, clearly defined inputs, activities, outputs and anticipated outcomes with appropriate consideration of deliverability, risk and appropriate mitigating action for all ten projects.
The business case stage will include wider public engagement and consultation with details soon to be announced. The Board are keen to see some projects start in 2022 signalling the real start of delivering the Goole Town Deal and benefits for the town's residents and town centre business communities.
Goole Market Hall, Victoria Pleasure Ground and Goole Leisure Centre are flagship anchor destination projects for the town centre, whilst the Station Hub is a strategic arrival point for Goole's two-way connectivity aspirations. The Public Realm programme is a priority uplift project and will aim to improve the overall sense of place and highlight the town's distinct identity as a working port and a community of 20,000+ residents.
The Property Activation Fund is a means to bring back into use multiple properties and engage with private sector owners.
Full details on each of the projects are outlined in the Investment Plan available on the Goole Town Deal website but as a reminder they are:
- Goole Market Hall Reinvention
- Town Centre Public Realm Programme
- Property Activation Fund to support town centre buildings reanimation
- Goole Leisure Centre modernisation
- Victoria Pleasure Ground development
- Dutch River Cycleway and improved Flood Banks
- Goole Station Transport Hub development
- One Stop Skills and information Shop
- Full Fibre Broadband in Old Goole
- Faster, direct rail services between Goole and Leeds
Andrew Percy, MP for Goole, added: "It has been a challenging and difficult year for many - emphasising the need more than ever for the Goole Town Deal. I am confident that our portfolio of ten projects will soon secure the final sign off and unlock the town's opportunities, address market failure, create potential to bring in long term investment and contribute to the overarching vision, strategy, and objectives set out in the Town Investment Plan for Goole."