Perspectives 2019

ROUND-UP PERSPECTIVES 22 ROUND UP Towns to get £3.6 billion boost fromTowns Fund and Future High Streets Fund T he government has announced a series of funding measures to support ailing town centres. First announced in the 2018 budget, the Future High Streets Fund has increased from £675 million to £1 billion and now forms part of a £3.6 billion Towns Fund: • Launched in December 2018, the £675 million Future High Streets Fund started its Phase 1 bidding process, inviting local authorities to propose projects that will boost their traditional town centres. 51 shortlisted areas were announced in July, each receiving up to £150,000 of funding to expand their successful Phase 1 bids into detailed Phase 2 proposals that include designs, costings and treasury compliant financial modelling. Although the deadline for “shovel ready” projects has just past (27 September), for the majority of bidders the deadline for their final business case submissions is 30 April 2020. • In addition to the expansion of the £675 million High Streets Fund to £1 billion, at the end of August it was announced that an additional 50 towns from Phase 1 will be shortlisted. • On top of those shortlisted to bid for the High Street Fund, 100 towns were named in September to each receive up to £25 million of investment from the Towns Fund to stimulate economic growth. For some towns this could mean new government funded investment of up to £50 million. • A recent announcement revealed the 69 high streets that will benefit from the £95 million historic High Streets Fund, creating High Street Heritage Action Zones – the Midlands region is the largest beneficiary with an allocation of £21.1 million. For those towns which have missed out on Phase 1, it’s worth remembering that the Future High Streets funding is allocated in two rounds. The second round provides a fresh pitch opportunity for authorities that missed the cut in the first round (some 200+), along with others that didn’t bid – so it’s not too late to benefit. By Keith Hardman, International Partner, Development and Planning High Streets are part of the national heritage and they play a critical role in local communities. As social and technological changes continue to refashion consumer needs, a series of multi- million pound investment and development funding measures aim to rejuvenate high streets.