Three Melton sites targeted for multi-million-pound economic boost
More than 100 jobs will be created and there will be a multi-million pound boost to tourism and the local economy if a funding bid to develop three key Melton town centre sites is approved.
That’s the confident prediction of council, civic and business leaders in the town as they unveiled ambitious plans for Melton Theatre, the historic livestock market and the vacant former college training site on King Street.
Melton Borough Council has joined forces with local public and private sector partners to submit a Levelling Up Fund bid to the government for almost £10million to pay for a package of three complimentary projects contributing towards consolidating the town’s reputation as the nation’s rural capital of food and bringing in more visitors to the town by creating destinations for a wide range of audiences.
The money would enhance the market site as a venue for events and create more food and drink units, alongside the likes of Round Corner Brewing, as well as supporting business and tourism-related activities there.
Melton Theatre has been closed throughout the Covid pandemic but is due to reopen in November and some of the funding would help pay for work to refurbish it on the Brooksby Melton College site on the corner of Wilton Road and Asfordby Road.
The old King Street college site has not been used for many years and the funding would help pay for it to be converted into a food production, training and workshop facility.
We reported back in March that Brocklebys had applied for planning permission to relocate its popular bakery and farm shop from Asfordby Hill to the vacant town site with plans to expand its pie-making training courses.
Councillor Leigh Higgins, deputy leader of Melton Borough Council and portfolio holder for growth and prosperity, said: “This funding will allow us to enhance and take us to a new level, in an ever competitive and changing market, for Melton as the Rural Capital of Food.
“By developing some key sites in the town, Melton will improve training and employment opportunities in this sector as well as enhance on the important night time offer.
“It is important to now look to reach out to new customers and investors looking for a wider offer which Melton can provide a unique experience regionally.
“Our mutual aim is to boost the town’s economy and attract more tourism to the borough.
“Increasing footfall and, more importantly, discretionary spend in our area is a key aim to help secure private investment, new businesses and jobs for our long term future.”
If the funding is approved the various projects are expected to lead to the creation of an additional 139 jobs in the wider economy, prompt an additional 240,000 town centre visits every year and result in a £7.4million annual boost to the town’s economy in terms of money being spent by visitors.
Hugh Brown, CEO of Melton Mowbray Market said “As the largest town centre market in the country, we already have a well-established farmers market, an award-winning brewery and are home to many food and drink events.
“The levelling up funding will turbo charge this development for the benefit of new and existing traders, visitors and the wider town.”
Melton Mowbray Town Estate, which manages the town parks and other recreational facilities as well as operating the street market, is fully behind the funding plans.
John Southerington, chairman of its feoffees, said: “We believe this initiative will increase the vitality, vibrancy, footfall and spend in the town centre, to create optimism in the town, it will also act as a connecting fabric to enhance the Melton Mowbray experience through the High Street and Market Place.”
Dawn Whitemore, CEO and principal of Brooksby Melton College, is pleased to see the investment in the site she manages as well as the economic boost the wider plans will give.
“Melton Mowbray is one of just a few places synonymous with a particular food product, building on the heritage of the pork pie and Stilton cheese and adopting a strategy that links the production of food and drink with tourism and education will grow and promote Melton’s unique food heritage whilst building an event calendar and promoting the town’s lesser known exports like Stilton, gin and cordials,” she said.