The £675m Future High Streets Fund, which launched on Boxing Day, invites local towns to bid for their share of the funding, setting a deadline of 22 March for expressions of interest.
Up to £55m has been earmarked to restore historic buildings in ‘heritage high streets.’ Bids will contribute to the restoration of these properties to turn them into new work spaces or cultural venues.
The government announced the FHSF back in October with the aim of encouraging local councils to reinvigorate their town centres. The aim of the initiative is to allow councils to diversify the offer on their high streets, with a shift away from its current emphasis on retail towards more services- and experience-led community hubs.
The FHSF came on the back of Sir John Timpson’s High Street Report, in which Timpson said: “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.”
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.”