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First Glastonbury Town Deal project secures planning permission

The first Glastonbury Town Deal project has successfully progressed through the planning process, with initial works now likely to begin in early 2023.

The planning application for the refurbishment and development of the existing leisure centre at Tor Sports and Leisure was approved at Mendip District Council’s Planning Board meeting on Wednesday 14th December. As no issues were raised relating to the application, the planning officer’s recommendation to approve this development was carried and the application was granted.

Set to become the Glastonbury Community Sports and Leisure Hub, this project will comprise a 1.5-storey extension of the existing clubhouse building to create a new multi-use sports hall.

The new centre of excellence will offer opportunities for sports, training, education and health & wellbeing support, as well as being a place for people to meet and socialise.

The refurbishment will include a multi-use hall; a gym; changing rooms, showers and toilets, including a changing places toilet; three treatment rooms; a meeting space; a storage room; a social area with a bar and separate kitchenette; and a remodelled entrance/reception space complete with a café.

The transformed facilities will be available for use by a range of local sports and clubs, including cricket, football, bowls, rounders and acrobatics, and will provide opportunities for local people of all ages and interests to improve their physical and mental health.

Of the total £23.6million Glastonbury Town Deal investment, a grant of £2.09million has been allocated to the Glastonbury Community Sports and Leisure Hub, with another £0.2million of match-funding being sought.

The site will benefit from further Glastonbury Town Deal investment through two related town deal projects. Through the Robert Richards Initiative, a figure-of-eight path will be installed around the outer edge of the grassed pitches for the enjoyment of runners, walkers and wheelchair users. In addition, through the Glastonbury Clean Energy project, a small array of rooftop solar panels and two EV charging points will be installed.

Cllr Liz Leyshon, who is a Glastonbury Town Deal board member as well as a county and district councillor, said: “I am absolutely delighted to see the Glastonbury Community Sports and Leisure Hub planning application approved by Mendip District Council. The project at Tor Leisure builds on the Quaker employment ethos of providing facilities to benefit the physical and mental health of the workforce.

“We have engaged with many of the sports groups and residents who have used the land and building at Tor Leisure for decades. Their feedback on the plans has been invaluable, enabling us to find the best affordable solution to a building that very much needs its refurbishment and extension, and to the land that needs to better provide for people with differing mobility. This bodes well for the rest of the Town Deal, and the start of a new era for Glastonbury.”

Alex Dovey, from project management firm Pick Everard, added: “Achieving planning permission takes this hugely beneficial community project one step forward to reality. The collaborative approach taken with the project team, user groups and members of the public have helped to achieve this key milestone, so I would like to thank all involved. We will now work closely with our delivery partners to finalise details to enable a start on site at the earliest opportunity and we look forward to opening the new facility as soon as possible.”

Enabling works on the site are now expected to begin in Spring 2023, in readiness for the demolition works.

Glastonbury was one of 101 towns chosen to receive investment through the Government’s Towns Fund scheme as part of its Levelling Up agenda. Following the submission earlier this year of comprehensive Business Cases for each project, formal confirmation of the funding was received in September 2022, securing this once-in-a-generation funding that is set to revitalise the town.

The Glastonbury Town Deal projects aim to deliver a necessary ‘levelling up’ opportunity for the town, bringing existing assets back into community use, and working with local communities to develop the spaces and resources they want and need. The vision is for Glastonbury to be a sustainable, prosperous, modern town and global tourist centre, drawing on its rural landscape, history and unique legacy.

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