English high streets to receive £95m regeneration boost

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2-min read
WINCHESTER, UK - July 27, 2012. Pedestrianised high street in Winchester, Hampshire, UK
Local authorities will partner on the schemes to create new homes, shops, work places and community spaces, which will restore “local historic character” and “improve public realm.” Photo: Getty

High streets across England are set to benefit from a £95m ($122.7m) government grant delivered through Historic England’s Heritage Action Zone Initiative.

The fund, established before the coronavirus hit the UK in September last year, aims to restore buildings that have fallen into disrepair and will be awarded to 68 areas in the UK.

Local authorities will partner on the schemes to create new homes, shops, work places and community spaces, which will restore “local historic character” and “improve public realm.”

High streets and bricks and mortar retail has been among the hardest hit sectors following sweeping coronavirus lockdowns, as businesses scrambled to pivot to online services.

The fund is compiled from £40m from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport’s Heritage High Street Fund and £52m from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Street Fund.

A further £3m will be provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support a cultural programme.

According to Historic England, up to 48% of the nation's retail stock was built before 1919. It says “the loss of business occupiers in these historic buildings is placing them at risk and undermining the character, local identity and viability of the high street.”

The £1.57bn Cultural Recovery Fund will also help to tackle the impact the pandemic has had on our most loved arts organisations and heritage sites and breathe new life into historic high streets across the country.

Areas set to benefit from the grant. Credit: Historic England
Areas set to benefit from the grant. Credit: Historic England

Of the neighbourhoods receiving the grants, the highest total amounts have been awarded to Tottenham in London (£2m), Huddersfield (£2m) and Leominster and Brierley Hill in the midlands (£1.8m).

The full list can be viewed here.

Culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “High streets sit at the heart of our communities and every part of the country deserves to have one they can be proud of.

“This fund will help breathe new life into high streets in towns and cities across the country - restoring them to their full glory so that they are beautiful places for people to shop, work and enjoy.”

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