Boris Johnson has expanded the shortlist for the government’s Future High Streets Fund to include an additional 50 towns.
The prime minister announced last weekend that the additional towns – including Blackpool, Dudley and Scarborough – will join the successful areas already shortlisted to develop plans to reinvent their high streets.
The extension comes on the back of the £3.6bn Towns Fund announced last month, which included a £325m boost for the Future High Streets Fund.
All the shortlisted entries will progress to the second phase of the Future High Streets Fund and receive up to £150,000 to support the development of detailed project proposals that can be submitted for capital funding.
The scheme was originally launched in December 2018 to help local leaders implement ‘bold new visions to transform their town centres’, when it was valued at £675m.
In April, ministers revealed that more than 300 councils had applied for the fund.
And in July, the government confirmed 50 entries made it its original shortlist, including Whitehaven in Cumbria to Penzance in Cornwall.
‘Our high streets are right at the heart of our communities, and I will do everything I can to make sure they remain vibrant places where people want to go, meet and spend their money,’ said the prime minister.
‘But with our town centres facing challenges, we’re today expanding the High Streets Fund to support over 100 high streets to regenerate – backed by £1 billion of vital investment,’ added Mr Johnson.
‘This scheme is going to re-energise and transform even more of our high streets – helping them to attract new businesses, boost local growth, and create new infrastructure and jobs.’
The communities secretary Robert Jenrick added: ‘High streets have a crucial role to play as we work to grow the economy of all parts of the country.
‘Our £1 billion Future High Streets Fund is key to delivering this, empowering local leaders to help transform their high streets and town centres as consumer habits change, by investing in housing, workplaces, infrastructure and culture.
‘Interest in the fund has been huge, and with so many strong applications, I am extending the number of towns moving forward to the next phase and getting a chance to develop their proposals.’
Photo Credit – epicioci (Pixabay)
Senior reporter – NewStart