Government accepts ‘virtually all’ High Street Review recommendations
The government has named the 100 councils that will each receive £100,000 to revamp troubled town centres in response to Mary Portas’ High Street Reivew.
Under the £10m High Street Innovation Fund, the cash is to be focused on bringing empty shops back into use - which the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said could spell a £30m boost for new business start-ups.
DCLG said it would also be launching a £1m Future High Street X-Fund for the locations that came up with the most creative and effective ways to revitalise ailing high streets, as well as a £500m fund for Business Improvement Districts to help town centres access loans for their set-up costs.
It also proposes to reform current planning rules to allow the conversion of space above shops to two flats, rather than the current limit of one.
Housing minister Grant Shapps said that in addition to accepting “virtually all” of the Portas Review’s reccomendations he wanted to see the creation of hundreds of town teams that will look at ways to counter the anticipated effects of a growing culture of online shopping.
He said the teams - expected to include councils, businesses, and MPs - should look how town centres could be reinvigorated through the addition of entertainment venues and leisure facilities, as well as housing and local public services, as well as at issues such as parking charges, opening hours.
Shapps said: “Mary Portas’ review made crystal clear the stark challenge our high streets face. With Internet shopping and out-of-town centres here to stay, they must offer something new if they are to entice visitors back.
“Her report has provided the catalyst for change that many towns have been craving.
“I now want to see people coming together to form their own town teams and turning their creative ideas into reality to ensure their high streets thrive long into the future.”
Martin Blackwell, chief executive at the Association of Town Centre Management, said that even within the next decade town centres would become “radically different”.
“This government’s approach, shown in the response to Mary’s report, is giving local communities the opportunity to shape the future High Street they want to see in their town,” he said.
The 100 authorities recieving £100,000 in High Street Innovation Fund cash are: Basingstoke & Deane, Bassetlaw, Birmingham, Blackburn with Darwen UA, Blackpool UA, Bolsover, Bracknell Forest UA, Bradford, Brent, Broxtowe, Burnley, Calderdale, Cannock Chase, Cheltenham, Cherwell, Croydon, Darlington UA, Derby UA, Doncaster, Dudley, Ealing, Enfield, Epsom and Ewell, Fareham, Fylde, Gloucester, Gosport, Gravesham, Greenwich, Hackney, Halton UA, Haringey, Hartlepool UA, Hillingdon, Hyndburn, Ipswich, Kingston upon Hull UA, Kirklees, Knowsley, Lambeth, Leeds, Leicester UA , Lewisham, Lichfield, Liverpool, Luton UA, Manchester , Medway Towns UA, Merton, Mid Devon, Middlesbrough UA, Newcastle upon Tyne, Newham, North East Lincolnshire UA, North Somerset UA, North Tyneside, North Warwickshire, Northampton, Nottingham City UA, Oldham, Pendle, Preston, Reading UA , Redditch, Reigate & Banstead, Rossendale, Salford, Sandwell, Sefton, Sheffield, Shepway, Slough UA, South Somerset, Southwark, St Helens, Staffordshire Moorlands, Stevenage, Stockport, Swale, Tameside, Three Rivers, Thurrock UA , Tonbridge & Malling , Tower Hamlets, Trafford, Uttlesford , Vale of White Horse , Walsall, Wandsworth, Warrington UA, Watford, West Lancashire, West Lindsey , Westminster, Wigan, Wirral, Wolverhampton, and Wyre Forest.