Government launches strategy to regenerate high streets

Published by Will Dodds on September 22nd 2021, 11:11am

The government launched a long-term plan this summer to support UK high streets, with the goal of supporting them to remain vibrant places where people work, visit and live.

Launched by the prime minister in a speech in Coventry, the long-term plan to support the evolution and regeneration of high streets is a move to "level up and unite the country" by revitalising the high streets which took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the plan, the government hope to transform buildings that have gone into disrepair, clean up high streets, and nurture a sense of community.

Councils will be able to take control of derelict buildings through compulsory purchase orders and turn them into homes if the owners stall on regeneration plans, while they will be urged to convert empty offices and shops into entertainment venues or new businesses without the need for planning permission.

Meanwhile, 15 Town Deals totalling £335 million will also help local economies and plans for growth, with the funding intended to support regeneration projects including "repurposing empty shops on high streets, creating new public spaces, transforming a riverfront area into a community hub with entertainment and leisure venues, and creating a new digital enterprise and learning centre".

In a similar move, Coalfields Regeneration Trust has opened a Community Investment Programme to offer awards of up to £3,000 to charitable and not-for-profit community groups.

The programme is aimed at helping groups deliver their core services and to develop new initiatives, with projects required to be completed within 12 months or less.

The initiatives will also need help in one of the following fields: health and wellbeing, skills and training, job creation, and employment support.

“We’re pleased to be calling for applications to our Community Investment Programme from charities and not-for-profit groups," said Nicky Wilson, Coalfields Regeneration Trust chair in Scotland.

"These types of organisations carry out some of the most critical work and are the backbone of the mining communities. We’re really looking forward to receiving the applications and hope the initiative will be a success for many years to come.”

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Will Dodds
Senior Journalist
September 22nd 2021, 11:11am

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