The Future High Streets Fund officially launched on Boxing Day marking the latest drive by the government to save the UK’s ailing high streets.
After being announced in the October budget the £675 million fund was launched yesterday, which will see local towns bid for their share.
Funds will be used by local councils across the UK to transform high streets into community hubs, aiming to reduce the reliance on retail following another challenging year for high street stores.
It follows the release of Sir John Timpson’s High Street Report, which saw the chair of the Town Centres Expert Panel and retailer call for more money to be granted to local authorities to rejuvenate their towns.
Timpson said UK retail would not return to the high streets that existed 10 or 20 years ago, but the report made suggestions to help places overcome the “difficult structural issues and changes” they faced.
“I have learnt, from my own business, that the best way to get things done is to give people on the front line the freedom to get on with the job in the way they know best,” he 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.”
A The British Retail Consortium (BRC) spokesperson added: “We ask that local authorities work closely with local businesses in the development of bids that actively address key local challenges.
“This is a great starting point and the BRC is keen to work closely with the High Streets Taskforce as it oversees the work of the fund and develops best practice and advice to support local areas.”