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Details of £95m high street investments revealed

The government will provide 69 towns across the UK with a share of a £95m heritage boost. Specific locations and their respective portions have been confirmed by culture secretary Nicky Morgan.

The cash injection will be overseen by Historic England to create new High Street Heritage Action Zones aiming to revitalize the country’s town centres.

By giving historic buildings a new lease of life, in the form of shops, restaurants and community centres, the idea is that previously unused buildings will be repurposed. The money also hopes to give traditional businesses the tools to compete with online outlets who are currently undercutting the high street.

This welcome boost will aim to encourage footfall on the streets and in the shops and bring a buzz back to towns that might have been lost in recent years.

The initiative will consist of £40m from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport’s Heritage High Street Fund and £52m from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Street Fund. The final £3m will be provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support a cultural programme which hopes to encourage the appreciation of the history of their high streets.

Aside from shops, restaurants and community centres, the plan is also to provide more commercial spaces in the 69 locations in a bid to attract future investments in the areas.

Culture secretary Nicky Morgan said: “Our nation’s heritage is one of our great calling cards to the world, attracting millions of visitors to beautiful historic buildings that sit at the heart of our communities.

“This £95m will help breathe new life into high streets all over England, benefiting businesses, supporting our much-loved buildings and helping to make our communities more attractive places to live, work and visit.”

The money will be spread across the whole country, with London and the South East receiving £14.3m. Specific projects include a £2m injection for Tottenham to restore historic shop-fronts within the commercial hub in order to increase economic strength and boost regeneration in the area.

The Midlands will receive the most with £21.1m to be given to the area. The West-Midland region of Stoke-on-Trent will be awarded up to £2m to renovate and reuse vacant buildings with a focus on creating homes above shops within the heritage area.

The North West will also receive a large portion with £18.7m to be put aside. The next highest beneficiary is the North East and Yorkshire with £17.2m of the total £95m.

Historic England’s chief executive, Duncan Wilson said: “Our high streets are the beating hearts of our communities. Many have roots that go back hundreds of years.

“Now they face an uncertain future.

“We will work with partners to find new ways to regenerate our high streets. They can be thriving social hubs once more.”


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