The Government has announced that millions of pounds of funding will be invested in 72 areas across England as part of the effort to help high streets recover from the impact of the pandemic.
Communities secretary Robert Jenrick said over the Christmas period that up to £830m from the Future High Streets Fund will go towards delivering local projects such as improvements to transport infrastructure, new homes and the transformation of underused spaces.
‘The year ahead will be a big one for the high street as it seeks to recover, adapt and evolve as a result of the pandemic,’ he said.
‘Today’s £830m investment from the Future High Streets Fund is one of many ways the Government is working to help our much-loved town centres get through this and prosper into the future.
‘The role of the high street has always evolved. We want to support that change and make sure that they are the beating heart of their local community – with high quality housing and leisure in addition to shops and restaurants.
‘This investment will help us build back better and make town centres a more attractive place to live, work and visit.’
Birkenhead, one of the confirmed places set to benefit from the funding, will receive £24.6m to support the delivery of 186 new homes, road safety improvements and a permanent new space for a historic market.
Around £18m will also go to boost Worcester town centre by renovating the Scala Theatre (pictured) and Corn Exchange, delivering new homes and improving connectivity.
Swindon will get £25m to modernise its town centre, including a new public transport hub and improved cycle and pedestrian routes.
Commenting on the funding announcement, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said: ‘We are supporting our high streets to get through this pandemic through business grants, paying people’s wages and tax deferrals.
‘The Future High Streets Fund will help areas bounce back through regeneration projects that level up opportunities and create jobs right across the country.’
Last month, The MJ reported there was anger over delays to high street bid funding.