The Future High Streets Fund has now opened, asking local towns to make a bid for a share of £675m to transform their high streets.
The fund was officially launched yesterday by High Streets Minister Jake Berry, after being announced in the October budget by the Chancellor.
It comes after Sir John Timpson’s High Street Report called for an “upside-down government” approach to saving local high streets, through the creation of community hubs and the innovation of local authorities.
Timpson, chair of the Town Centres Expert Panel, called for local authorities to be empowered with subsidy from the Future High Streets Fund, in the rejuvenation of their towns.
He 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.”
“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.”
The British Retail Consortium commented: “We ask that local authorities work closely with local businesses in the development of bids that actively address key local challenges. This is a great starting point and the BRC is keen to work closely with the High Streets Taskforce as it oversees the work of the fund and develops best practice and advice to support local areas.”
Up to £55m of the Fund has been allocated to support the regeneration of ‘heritage high streets’, restoring historic high street properties for new work spaces or cultural venues.