Wiltshire Council is to spend £16.3 million on a facelift for Trowbridge with the aim of making it “a great place to visit”.

The money, from the Government’s Future High Streets Fund, will go on smartening up the town, opening independent shops and start-ups, creating new jobs and providing more homes above buildings in the town centre.

But first the public are to be given their say on how they want New Trowbridge to look – and to say why they don’t go there.

The council’s ambition, revealed in a consultation paper published yesterday, is to turn Trowbridge into “a place that people want to visit and spend time in”, shaking off the dowdiness which has caused some non-residents to ironically dub it “Trow Vegas”, because they say it is currently anything but the glitzy Las Vegas.

The scheme proposes “pedestrian improvement” of Wicker Hill, Hill Street, Fore Street, Manvers Street, Church Street, Union Street, Castle Street and Roundstone Street. This will involve widening pavements and footpaths, laying new paving to match that in the town centre and, in Union Street and Church Street, removing traffic signals and replacing them with zebra crossings.

The council wants to create a “Trowbridge Trail” which it says will “encourage people into the historic town centre and improve the image and identity of the town by transforming pedestrian and public areas”

The council says the Trowbridge Trail will “identify the town’s unique points and destinations” and will “introduce a new signage scheme to showcase the town centre’s heritage, improve links and encourage movement around the town centre.”

It adds: “the Trowbridge Trail will focus on improving the public environment in the town centre, creating safer, easier and accessible movement and encourage Trowbridge to be a place that people want to visit and spend time in.”

The plan also includes development of the River Biss corridor between Town Bridge and Castle Street Bridge, which will involve planting trees, installing benches, creating new paths and pocket parks and installing new lighting, “to improve green infrastructure and increase wellbeing and amenity value, making Trowbridge a pleasant place to walk and cycle, increasing visiting time and encouraging footfall.”

Wiltshire Times: Town hall "to be restored to glory"Town hall "to be restored to glory"

The facelift will also include renovation of the Grade II-listed Town Hall, “restoring the building to its pre‐1970s glory” and establishing it as “a cultural and community hub”.

The council said: “Renovations will reinstate lost heritage features and create improved facilities for cultural events, community groups and creatives, supporting the regeneration of our high street.

“This will achieve diversifying the cultural and leisure offer in Trowbridge, increase the number of people visiting the town centre and spending locally and increase the creative and community activity at the heart of Trowbridge.

“We are also exploring the potential to bring Market Chamber, the old Weatherspoon's pub back into use, so that it can become a focal point in the high street once again. We will undertake a feasibility study for Market Chambers, which may be refurbished as part of the programme of works.”

The Government hand-out will also enable the council to give grants to businesses and organisations to set up shops and enterprises in commercial premises which are currently empty – and to build flats on the floors above them.

The council said: “This project is a discretionary grants programme offering funding to businesses and organisations to bring vacant commercial units back into use.

“We will support the refurbishment of vacant commercial units to encourage independent businesses and start‐ups, encourage the conversion of upper floors of commercial premises, creating additional residential accommodation.

“This will reduce the number of vacant units in Trowbridge, create a more vibrant High Street, increase number of independent shops and increase number of new jobs.”

But Wiltshire Council is to first find out what the town’s residents, and potential visitors, want in New Trowbridge. It is asking people to take part in an online survey which asks: What should Trowbridge be known for? What brings you here? What makes you want to stay? What makes you want to leave? How can we bring more people to Trowbridge?

To complete the online survey go to www.wiltshire.gov.uk/fhsf‐trowbridge or contact Wiltshire Council’s Customer Services on 0300 456 0100 to request the survey as a paper copy. All responses to be received by 5pm on February 11.