Rayleigh Town Council Proposals for Welcome Back Funding

Rayleigh Town Council has put forward some proposals to access a share of the Welcome Back Funding made available to the District Council by the European Regional Development Fund.

What is the Welcome Back Fund?

Councils across England are to share £56m of ERDF funding to support the return to
high streets safely and help build back better from the pandemic. This funding shall
be known as the “Welcome Back Fund” (the fund) and it builds on the £50m
Reopening High Street Safely Fund (RHSSF) allocated to councils in 2020 and
forms part of wider support government is providing to communities and businesses,
to protect jobs, support the most vulnerable and ensure no one is left behind as we
continue to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic and begin to build back better.
The fund will allow local authorities in England to put in place additional measures to
create and promote a safe environment for local trade and tourism, particularly in
high streets as their economies reopen. We also recognise that the impact of Covid19 on local economies will be significant. Local authorities can therefore also use the
fund to develop plans for responding to these impacts, this could include considering
how other funding streams could help address those challenges in the future.


These are the ideas that some of the Council have voted for and have been taken from the Town Council published minutes.


To consider responses to the welcome back programme.

As agreed in minute 86/21, the report and additional suggestions will be collated into a list of applications to the Rochford District Council welcome back fund.

Cllr D Belton introduced the report and collated suggestions requesting further guidance on which items to pursue. It was agreed that the ideas would be put in order of desirability. The money would be allocated by the district council, but not called-down until the work starts. There would be no penalty for projects that did not happen.

Two table tennis tables on KGV field. Although there was widespread support for a low cost and easy to implement plan, concern was expressed about whether it would induce people to return to the town and how much it would cost to maintain. The Council would need to consider making it fully accessible. If the existing basketball hardstanding is used it could be reached with £1,000 pathway.

Full council agenda 1 Published August 11th 2021

Resolved. The Council will request two table tennis tables. Proposed Cllr D Belton seconded Cllr Page carried with one against and one abstention.

Solar bins. Solar recycling bins would be expensive for the District Council to maintain, and the current bins are well maintained. There may be a long-term saving, and it would be a demonstration of the town’s innovation. There is no desire for additional street furniture and the Council should be encouraging the minimisation of waste rather than improve the efficiency of collection.

Resolved. The Council will send quotes to RDC requesting upgrade to Solar powered and Bins proposed Cllr Belton seconded Cllr Dowell and carried Nine to Five against one not voting.

Solar USB charging point furniture.

This suggestion will be deferred to review the possibility of fitting charging pods to existing furniture.

Deep Clean.

Cllr Sperring confirmed that the deep clean has already been done.

Outdoor event.

As the Town has cancelled the trinity fair, the fireworks and festive lighting celebration, it would be difficult to justify another event. Anything that draws crowds should be treated with caution. Small events over a period of time would provide continuing interest in the town and helping local artists. Although this project would initially benefit the town traders, the deeper goal would be to revitalise the town in general.

Resolved. Refer the proposal back to the working group to establish prices for street performers and confirm dates before March 2022. Proposed Cllr D Belton seconded Paige and carried by eleven to one with two abstentions.


The Council was interested in the idea of an art installation but doubt was expressed about the value of the project; it may attract unwanted graffiti and would be expensive to insure or protect. If an installation is chosen, it will need to be promoted to generate interested. There is a possibility of engaging local artists,

Resolved. The working group will get more information on locations and artists to refine the proposal. Proposed Cllr D Belton seconded Cllr Pavelin and carried with one abstention.

Pop-up art gallery in empty shop.

It was agreed that the pop-up and the beautification proposal are combined.

There was widespread support for a pop-up shop that would not be limited to art exhibitions. There would be an opportunity to showcase local entrepreneurial talent and make it celebrate local culture. The District Council would organise the leases, but the Town Council would specify who and what is displayed.

Full council agenda 2 Published August 11th 2021

Resolved. Request the District Council leases an empty unit for continually changing display showcasing local artists and managed by the Town Council. Proposed Cllr D Belton seconded Dowell carried with one against.

Set up another working group to take these suggestions forward and then present a supplementary list of other projects.

What do you think of these proposals? Let me know in the comments below

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About the author 

James Newport

Essex County Councillor for Rayleigh North, Rochford District Councillor for Downhall & Rawreth and Rayleigh Town Councillor for Sweyne.

  • Good evening. This may be a silly question, I just wondered why the Rayleigh town councils heading on the page is the European flag?

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