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02/01/2019

Bids invited for high street fund

Words: Laura Edgar
Money / iStock-185267728

High streets minister Jake Berry has called on English towns to bid for a share of the government’s £675 million Future High Streets Fund.

Launched in the 2018 Budget, the fund aims to help local leaders implement “bold new visions” to transform their town centres to make them fit for the future. The co-funding could be used to improve transport and access into town centres, and convert retail units into homes.

A panel was appointed in July 2018 by Berry to investigate the issues affecting high streets and town centres, and then recommend measures to address them.

Chaired by Sir John Timpson, chair of the Timpson shoe repair chain, the panel recommended that an ‘Upside Down Government’ approach would empower local leaders to implement their plans to reinvent town centres. They would be supported by funding from the government’s Future High Streets Fund and a Town Centres Task Force, which was also announced in the 2018 Budget.

Berry said the government is determined to guarantee that high streets continue to sit at the heart of communities for generations to come.

“To do this we have to support investment in infrastructure, boosting local economies and ensuring people are able to get the most out of their local high streets. Empowering leaders on the ground is key too – they best understand the challenges facing their areas.

“Our Future High Streets Fund will drive forward this change, transforming our town centres into the thriving community hubs of the future.”

Timpson added: “I have learnt, from my own business, that the best way to get things done is to give people on the front line the freedom to get on with the job in the way they know best.

“By helping our towns create their own individual community hub, I believe we will have vibrant town centres to provide a much-needed place for face-to-face contact in the digital age.”

Up to £55 million of the fund has also been allocated to support the regeneration of ‘heritage high streets’. Bids will help to restore historic high street properties for new workspaces or cultural venues. The government said it would announce more details “in due course”.

The call for proposals for the fund can be found here on the UK Government website.


Read more:

Budget 2018: £1.5bn to transform high streets

Local leadership is key to reinventing town centres


Image credit | iStock

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