In October 2018 Government announced a new £675 million Future High Streets Fund to help local areas to respond and adapt to changes. It will support local areas to prepare long-term strategies for their high streets and town centres, including funding a new High Streets Taskforce to provide expertise and hands-on support to local areas projects.
Combating challenges to the High Street
The £675 million Future High Streets fund, announced in the October 20918 budget, is intended to allow high streets to combat the challenges of the growing influence of online shopping by turning town centres into “vibrant community hubs”.
The fund, which opened on Boxing Day will help local areas to respond and adapt to changes. It will support local areas to prepare long-term strategies for their high streets and town centres, including funding a new High Streets Taskforce to provide expertise and hands-on support to local areas projects.
It comes after the retailer Sir John Timpson, the owner of the shoe repair chain which carries his name, called for councils to be given more money to turn town centres into communities and meeting places, highlighting that high streets were not just about shopping.
Chair of the Town Centres Expert Panel, Sir John Timpson said:
“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.”
Up to £55m of the fund will be set aside to support the regeneration of ‘heritage high streets’, restoring old properties to transform them into work spaces or culture venues.
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.
Are you submitting a bid for the Future High Streets Fund?
Expressions of Interest (EOI) must be submitted to Government by Friday 22nd March and SELEP would like to provide a letter of support for those Borough, District and Unitary Councils who are submitting a bid to the Fund.
Please submit a short summary (no more than 3 paragraphs) of your bid including; the challenge you are facing, your proposed intervention and the value of your bid. A request will need to be submitted for each EOI.
Please also confirm which email address you require your letter of support to be sent to. Please could all requests be submitted to your local area lead for your Federated Board by Wednesday 13th March and a letter will be sent back to you by Friday 15th March.
Essex – South East LEP (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Opportunity South Essex – Ian Lewis (Ilewis@castlepoint.gov.uk)
Kent and Medway Economic Partnership – Sarah Nurden (email@example.com)
Team East Sussex – Richard Dawson (firstname.lastname@example.org)