Loughborough Town Deal confirms £669,000 to improve lanes and links and create iconic Covid memorial
Published: Mon 12th December, 2022
A project to better connect Loughborough’s award-winning Queen’s Park with the town centre and create an iconic Covid memorial has been given the green light by Loughborough Town Deal.
The Town Deal Board has confirmed £669,000 of funding to support the Lanes and Links project which includes the Hope Bell, a lasting memorial to those who lost their lives in the Covid-19 pandemic. The bell will also be a tribute to the NHS and key workers and a reminder of how communities came together to support each other in challenging times.
The Hope Bell builds on Loughborough’s unique place in the heritage world as it is home to the last major bell foundry in the country – John Taylor & Co.
The Lanes and Links scheme is being led by Charnwood Borough Council which today is also unveiling for the first time how the Hope Bell will look. It follows extensive consultation with local communities.
Loughborough Town Deal is supporting 11 projects after securing £16.9 million of Government funding. In total, the projects are worth more than £40 million of investment for the town.
The Town Deal Board is co-chaired by Cllr Jonathan Morgan, Leader of Charnwood Borough Council, and Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, founder of Morningside Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
Cllr Morgan said: “The Town Deal board is delighted to confirm funding for the Lanes and Links project. This will really help bring the town centre and Queen’s Park closer together and make Loughborough an even more attractive place to visit.
“I am also delighted that we can now reveal the final design for the Hope Bell.
“It has been inspired by Loughborough’s unique bell-making heritage and the design represents that while we were all forced apart by the pandemic, we did come together to support each other to get through such a difficult time.
“As well as being a memorial, the Hope Bell is also a way of saying thank you to the NHS and key workers and be a beacon of hope for the future.”
Dr Kotecha said: "The Lanes and Links project will bring real improvements to Loughborough town centre and help make it a more enjoyable place for shoppers and visitors. Improving these lanes between the park and the town centre is important and will create a more pleasant environment that people want to spend time in. This in turn benefits local businesses.
“The Hope Bell is also a very thoughtful and poignant centrepiece for this project. The pandemic has obviously impacted everyone’s lives and we welcome this memorial, tribute, and beacon of hope as part of the project.”
The Lanes and Links project including the Hope Bell will also benefit from a further investment of £236,000 from the Council to improve the pathways in Queen’s Park.
Overall, the Lanes and Links project will:
- see the creation and installation of the Hope Bell in Queen’s Park with improved landscaping in that area and seating. The Hope Bell will be near the Carillon Tower which is the town’s war memorial and home to 47 Taylor bells.
- add three CCTV cameras added to Queen’s Park
- resurface 1.7km of pathways in the park
- make Old Bleach Yard, which links the park and town centre, more attractive by adding lighting, new promotional banners, and pedestrian signage
- add a new information point at the Carillon Tower to help mark its centenary in 2023
- expand the town's bell-themed Christmas lights into Old Bleach Yard, Devonshire Lane and Granby Street car park to make it more attractive to visitors and improve the linkage between the car park and town centre
- help expand Love Loughborough’s free wifi into the park using beacons on new CCTV poles
The Hope Bell will see the creation of a clock chime installation comprising four quarter chime bells and the Hope Bell to sound the hours.
The main Hope Bell will weigh over a ton and measure 4ft 11in in diameter. The structure supporting the bells will be made of metal with a stone base but the final decision on materials has yet to be decided. Planning permission will also be required.
More information about the Lanes and Links project including the Hope Bell is on the Council’s website. Please visit www.charnwood.gov.uk/lanesandlinks
So far, Loughborough Town Deal has committed to investing:
- £2.6 million to create a Digital Skills Hub at Loughborough College
- £900,000 to create a Careers and Enterprise Hub in Loughborough's town centre
- £835,000 to help save Taylor's Bell Foundry, the last major bell foundry in the UK
- £1.7 million to support the Bedford Square Gateway Project which is regenerating part of the town centre
- £885,000 to fund towpath improvements alongside the River Soar
- £1.6 million to a creative arts hub at the Generator
- £2.5 million to support the Health and Innovative Loughborough project
- £280,000 towards the creation of a heritage locomotive works and education centre at Great Central Railway
With the confirmed funding for the Lanes and Links project, Loughborough Town Deal investment has now reached just under £12 million.