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Government pledges cash from high street fund

Words: Laura Edgar
Tamworth, Staffordshire / Shutterstock_714020926

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick has announced that up to £830 million from the Future High Streets Fund will be split between 72 areas in England.

The money will go towards helping these towns and cities “transform” their high streets so they are “vibrant hubs” for future generations, as well as towards protecting and creating jobs.

The government also said the money, which was announced in December 2020, will help areas recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Areas will be able to set out plans for regeneration, improve transport infrastructure, deliver new homes and transform underused spaces.

The 15 places and councils that will receive full funding are:

  • Tamworth town centre – Tamworth, £21,652,555
  • Sunderland city centre – Sunderland, £25,000,000
  • Sutton – Sutton, £11,346,704
  • Bishop Auckland – Durham: £19,856,853
  • Blyth town centre – Northumberland: £11,121,059
  • Kidderminster – Wyre Forest: £20,510,598
  • Old Kent Road – Southwark: £9,605,854
  • Swindon – Swindon: £25,000,000
  • Stockport – Stockport: £14,500,000
  • Winsford – Cheshire West and Chester: £9,980,000
  • Sheffield high street – Sheffield: £15,817,001
  • Blackfriars, Northern city centre – Worcester: £17,939,000
  • Birkenhead – Wirral: £24,581,011
  • Brierley Hill town centre – Dudley: £9,985,689
  • Stretford – Trafford: £17,605,674

The government said the confirmed plans include:

  • £24.6 million: To support the delivery of 186 new homes, road safety improvements and a permanent new space for the historic market in Birkenhead.
  • £17.9 million: Renovation of the Scala Theatre and Corn Exchange in Worcester town centre, as well as transforming underused space to create new homes for first-time buyers and improving connectivity.
  • £25 million: To support Swindon’s plans to modernise the town centre, including a new public transport hub and improved cycle and pedestrian routes.

Jenrick said the investment “is one of many ways the government is working to help our much-loved town centres get through this and prosper into the future”.

“The role of high street has always evolved. We want to support that change and make sure that they are the beating heart of their local community – with high-quality housing and leisure in addition to shops and restaurants.

“This investment will help us build back better and make town centres a more attractive place to live, work and visit.”

A total of £255 million from the Future High Streets Fund will be split between 15 areas. The other 57 areas, including Walsall and Scunthorpe, have received “provisional funding offers” totalling up to £576 million. The government said it would work with them to finalise proposals.

The Future High Streets Fund was launched in December 2018. Of the fund, £107 million has been allocated to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to support the regeneration of heritage high streets.

Image credit | Shutterstock