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02/01/2019 – £675m Future High Streets Fund Opens for Applications

A new fund which forms part of the government’s policy paper ‘Our Plan for the High Street’, providing co-funding towards capital projects that bring transformative change in England’s high streets, has opened to applications.

The Future High Streets Fund aims to renew and reshape town centres and high streets in a way that improves experience, drives growth and ensures future sustainability. In this first phase of the programme, local authorities in England are being asked to define the specific challenges faced by their high streets. They should set out their overarching strategic ambition for what their high street or town centre should become and what needs to happen to achieve this.

The Fund will contribute a maximum of £25 million to each successful place. The funder expects to see a range of project sizes coming forward, many of which will be in the region of £5-10 million per town centre. As such, it is not expected that the full amount will be allocated to each area. Up to £55 million of the Fund has also been allocated to support the regeneration of ‘heritage high streets’. Bids will help to restore historic high street properties for new work spaces or cultural venues.

The identified need for investment should fall under the following themes:

  • Investment in physical infrastructure.
  • Acquisition and assembly of land, including to support new housing, workspaces and public realm.
  • Improvements to transport access, traffic flow and circulation in the area.
  • Supporting change of use including (where appropriate) housing delivery and densification.
  • Supporting adaptation of the high street in response to changing technology.

Bids are being invited from unitary authorities, metropolitan districts, London boroughs and, where there is a two-tier system, district councils, in England. Local authorities should provide proof of engagement with, and support from, several stakeholders, such as Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), Business Improvement Districts and the private sector.

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.”

Expressions of Interest for Phase 1 of the Fund must be received by midnight on Friday 22 March 2019.

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