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Gillingham high street Newbury
Work completed on Newbury, Gillingham

Gillingham High Street is set for a significant face-lift in the New Year.

Funding secured by Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership through the Government’s Local Growth Fund is being invested in Gillingham town centre to support economic growth by enhancing the town centre environment.

Dorset Council’s successful bid for money from the LEP will improve pavements and resurface the road between South Street and Newbury Roundabout.

Uneven block-paving in the ‘raised table’ areas and the pavement between Lloyds Bank and Newbury will be replaced with an imprinting technique recently used in Station Road.

This modern technique – where hot asphalt material is laid and imprinted with a paving effect – reduces trip hazards and is easier to maintain compared to traditional paving.

Some heritage features in the historic part of the town will also be enhanced, including replacing the fence on the footbridge and the replacing existing light columns with heritage lamps.

Gillingham’s mayor Barry Von Clemens welcomed the news. ‘It is fabulous news that Dorset Council highways department managed to secure this considerable funding from  the LEP to enhance our High Street.

‘This plan will definitely improve the street scape and will give a very positive impression to visitors and those thinking of bringing businesses to the High Street. In conjunction with the many other schemes like the roundabouts will ensure our town is seen in a positive light.’

Councillor Ray Bryan, Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, explained: ‘Over time, the existing materials through High Street have become cracked and uneven, making it difficult for pedestrians and cyclists to navigate the area.

‘Renewing this street scene with improved, modern materials will complement the new and ongoing sustainable transport improvements in the town. And together, these enhancements will make walking and cycling a safer and more attractive option for many people.’

The enhancements will help make the town a more attractive place to visit – encouraging new shoppers to the area and more residents to shop locally.

Dorset LEP Director Lorna Carver said: ‘Gillingham is a busy and growing market town.  This urban realm enhancement will help revitalise the High Street.

‘This local growth investment will really change the feel of the town centre and aid economic activity and vibrancy.’

Work will start in February 2021 and take around eight weeks to complete.

* Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership is a business led private and public sector partnership, promoting local economic growth and prosperity. Dorset LEP delivers projects that support and develop infrastructure, housing, skills, enterprise and business growth to achieve long-term economic benefit for all in Dorset. For more information visit the Dorset LEP website.

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