Towns across the UK are urged to bid for a share of £675 million to revitalize their local high streets (known as “Main Streets” or “downtowns” to Americans) into modern vibrant community hubs.
Up to £55 million of the Fund has also been allocated to support the regeneration of “heritage high streets.” This money is earmarked specifically to restore and repurpose historic high street properties as new work spaces or cultural venues.
The Future High Streets fund which opened on December 26, 2018 will help local leaders implement bold new visions to transform their town centres and make them fit for the future with co-funding to consolidate properties on the high street, improve transport and access into town centres and converting retail units into new homes.
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 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.”
Chair of the Town Centres Expert Panel, Sir John 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. 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.”
Places bidding for the Fund will be supported by the High Streets Task Force, which will be established in 2019 and will support local leadership.
Applications for Phase 1 of the Fund must be received by midnight of March 22, 2019.
Photo of York, England high street by Storm Cunningham.