Planning and Housing

09.07.19

Government unveils £675m Future High Streets Fund shortlist

The government has revealed the winners of the first phase of a multi-million-pound fund to transform local high streets, with 51 areas of the country through to the second phase.

The £675m Future High Streets Fund, launched at the end of 2018, is aimed at helping local government leaders reinvent their town centres and making them “fit for the future.”

Northern powerhouse and high streets minister Jake Berry announced the winners, with the successful towns receiving up to £150,000 of new funding to work up detailed project proposals based on their initial plans.

Speaking ahead of a visit to Morecambe, Berry said: “High Streets are a crucial part of our local economies and people care about them because they are also the centres of their community.”

“But we recognise that changing consumer behaviour and the rise of online shopping presents a significant challenge and that’s why we are taking action to help them evolve.

“Many of our high streets are successfully re-inventing themselves and with these new plans now in development, local leaders, who know their areas best, will be driving forward the transformation of their town centres into further great success stories.”

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Winners include Whitehaven in Cumbria down to Penzance in Cornwall, as well as Hull, Sheffield, Northampton, Wigan, South Shields and Morecambe, who all have until spring 2020 to submit their final business cases.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will work closely with the winners, focusing on the areas with “shovel ready” projects.

According to MHCLG, there were more than 300 bids to the fund, and the 51 successful applicants have no guarantee of further funding for projects if the proposals put forward are not sufficiently developed.

Prime minister Theresa May commented: “Our high streets lie at the heart of local communities – creating jobs, boosting the economy and helping small businesses thrive.

“But new technology and changes in the way we shop means they also face growing challenges, so I’m delighted over 50 towns will initially benefit from this scheme.

“The funding will breathe new life into town centres and – together with measures such as small business rate cuts and opening up empty shops – will transform our high streets for the future.”

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