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.”
How To Apply
The Fund will operate as a two-stage application process.
The deadline for applications for Phase 1 calls for local authorities to submit Expressions of Interest to firstname.lastname@example.org, setting out their challenges and strategic approach to regenerating town centres, is 22 March 2019.
The second round of the programme will not open before 2020.
Indicative milestones for the initial Future High Streets Fund will be:
- Late 2018: MHCLG launches the full prospectus for the Fund, detailing the objectives of the Fund, further detail on the nature of projects that are eligible for funding, and assessment criteria.
- Early 2019: launch of the High Streets Taskforce to support local leadership.
- Spring 2019: during the Stage 1 application window for Expressions of Interest, MHCLG will undertake market warming, and local authorities build and develop private sector partnerships to deliver capital projects.
- Summer 2019: gateway assessment, with bids to be taken to Stage 2 of application and local areas working up more detailed business cases.
- Spring 2020: all remaining final business cases to be submitted.
- Not before 2020: Second round of applications opens.
The funder will assess applications and make an announcement on places moving forward to Phase 2 in summer 2019.
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