The High Street scheme aims to enable local leaders to future-proof their town centres
The Future High Streets fund is now open for communities to bid for a share of the £675 million scheme. Towns across the country are being urged to use the opportunity to help transform their local high streets into modern vibrant community hubs.
It’s hoped the fund will enable local leaders to consolidate properties on the high street, improve transport and access into town centres and create new homes.
The £675 million Future High Street Fund is part of the government’s Plan for the High Street. It was announced back in October’s Budget in response to interim recommendations from Sir John Timpson, Chair of the Town Centres Expert Panel.
“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,” said Sir John.
“I am pleased that the government has acted on my panel’s recommendations to set up a Future High Streets Fund to help local leaders turn their plans into reality.
“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’. The money set aside for these type of town centres will aim to restore historic properties for new work spaces or cultural venues.
Towns and communities bidding for the Fund will be supported by the High Streets Task Force, which will be established in 2019 and will support local leadership.
High Streets Minister Jake Berry MP said: “We all know high streets are changing, we can’t hide from this reality. But we’re determined to ensure they continue to sit at the heart of our 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.”
Applications for Phase 1 of the Fund have to be in by midnight on Friday 22 March 2019, with Phase 2 beginning in summer 2019.