COUNCILLORS have given the green light for an £8m regeneration project which would bring historic Somerset factory buildings back into use.

Glastonbury was one of 101 towns across the UK – and one of only two in Somerset – which has received funding from the government’s towns fund, with £23.6m being provided for projects designed to enhance the town centre and improve the town’s fortunes.

Detailed plans were published by the Beckery Island Regeneration Trust in October 2022 to regenerate the Baily’s Buildings on Beckery Old Road, delivering new commercial space for local businesses and start-ups.

After more than a year of consultation, Somerset Council has now granted planning permission for the scheme – with the trust indicating on social media that work could get under way in the spring.

The Baily’s Buildings were a major employer in the town until their closure in the 1980s, manufacturing a range of sporting goods – including boxing gloves worn by Henry Cooper, Muhammad Ali and Floyd Patterson.

Under the proposals, the two buildings – dubbed Baily’s East and Baily’s West – will be re-purposed into a sustainable hub for local start-ups as well as small and growing businesses.

On the ground floor of Baily’s West (the former tannery and rug factory), a café will be included with toilets and possibly a small museum commemorating the town’s industrial heritage.

Numerous different office and workshop spaces will be created across all three floors of both buildings, with outdoor covered space being provided on Beckery Old road itself to allow events to be staged.

Somerset County Gazette: Planned regeneration of the site.Planned regeneration of the site. (Image: Archtitecton)

Baily’s East (the old glove factory and engine house) will also include a “media studio” for lectures and performances.

A new car park will be created on vacant land at the western end of Beckery Old Road, with a new bridge over the existing stream and improvements being made to the existing cycle route which runs through the site.

This is the largest of the 11 town deal projects, costing £7.81m – of which £6.31 will come from the town deal and £1.5m being provided from other sources.

The plans received the warm backing of members of the council’s planning committee east (which makes decisions on major applications in the former Mendip area) when they were debated in Shepton Mallet on Tuesday afternoon (December 5).

Councillor Liz Leyshon, who represents the neighbouring Street division, praised the regeneration project in a statement read out on her behalf.

She said: “The Baily’s Buildings were at the industrial heart of #Glastonbury during my childhood in the town. To see them restored would be a huge step forward.

“These are historic buildings and the ambitious project is exactly what the town and the wider community needs.”

Councillor Nick Cottle – who represents Glastonbury and chairs the committee – concurred: “This is a long, long-awaited development. It is so important will do so much for our town – to see this derelict building sorted will be so amazing.

“I’m really chuffed to see this come forward. It’s such a worthwhile project.”

Councillor Helen Kay (Frome West) praised the green credentials of the project, remarking: “I’m really pleased to see that this historic building will have solar panels for on-site energy generation, as well as rainwater collection for flushing toilets. These are listed buildings, and this is great.”

The committee voted unanimously to approve both the regeneration plans and the listed building consent needed for the construction to begin.

The Beckery Island Regeneration Trust posted on its official Facebook page after the decision, confirming that “work will commence in the spring”.

The Baily’s Building regeneration is the fifth town deal project to secure planning permission since the final business case were approved by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) in September 2022.

Mendip District Council approved plans in December 2022 for the creation of the Glastonbury community sports and leisure hub on the A361 Street Road, and gave the green light in February 2023 for revamping the entrance to Glastonbury Abbey on Magdalene Street.

Two other project secured planning permission from Somerset Council in October – namely the construction of a health and well-being hub at St Dunstan’s House on Magdalene Street, and the creation of a “regenerative farming centre” on Porchestall Drove, at the western edge of the town.

Part of a further project (dubbed the Robert Richards initiative) has almost been completed at the leisure centre site, with new multi-user, all-weather paths being laid to provide safe links between the sports hub and the homes on Benedict Street and beyond the A39.

Decisions on three additional projects are expected early in the new year – namely the creation of the Glastonbury Enterprise and Innovation Hub on Beckery Road, the regeneration of the Bride’s Mound religious site on Moorlands Road, and the completion of work on the Red Brick Building.

For each of the projects within the town deal, the funding must be spent in its entirety by March 2026. For more information on each project, visit