Simon Fell, Conservative Candidate for Barrow and Furness, today praised the Government and Historic England for selecting Barrow and Furness as one of 69 historic towns which will share £95m to give high streets a new lease of life.
Speaking from Ulverston, Simon said:
“A vibrant high street brings a community together. But many of them struggle against out-of-town retail parks, or online businesses, leading local businesses and independent retailers to close and the sad sight of empty shops.
“Dalton Road is a perfect example of this, and I’m hopeful that this new funding will go some way towards restoring Barrow town centre.
“This funding is on top of the the £1billion Future High Streets Fund which Barrow is shortlisted for, and which I am very hopeful we will be successful in.
“This is an exciting time for Barrow’s high street and I’m delighted that the Government and Historic England are backing it.”
The £95 million will create 69 new High Street Heritage Action Zones overseen by Historic England. The selected projects will now work with Historic England to develop plans to revive their high street over a four year programme.
Working with local councils and communities, Historic England will deliver physical improvements and cultural activities to regenerate these high streets and restore local historic character.
The initiative will be funded by combining £40 million from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport’s Heritage High Street Fund with £52 million from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Street Fund. £3 million will be provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support a cultural programme to engage people in the life and history of their high streets.
The scheme will provide support for historic high streets and the communities who use them so they can adapt to the challenges they face. Through the programme, councils, businesses and community groups will be able to access expert advice and investment to bring historic buildings back to life
Disused or underused buildings will be transformed into creative spaces, offices, shops and housing. This revival will become the catalyst for wider regeneration, with heritage and local character at its heart.
Communities Secretary of State Robert Jenrick said:
I want to make sure the nation’s high streets continue to be at the heart of local communities. Today’s funding, part of the £3.6 billion we have committed to helping towns across the country, will revitalise much-loved historic buildings, helping to reverse the decline of our town centres. Ensuring that prosperity and opportunities are available to everyone in this country, not just those in our biggest cities, is a priority of this Government in our mission to ‘level up’ the regions.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, said:
We are doubling funding to nearly £100 million to revitalise our heritage high streets, ensuring they remain at the heart of our communities for years to come. This will help places across the country - from South Norwood to Scarborough - protect their treasured historic buildings and support local economies to thrive.
Historic England’s Chief Executive, Duncan Wilson said:
Our high streets are the beating hearts of our communities. Many have roots that go back hundreds of years. Their historic buildings and distinctive character tell the story of how our towns and cities have changed over time. They are places where people come together to socialise, shop, run businesses and be part of their local community, but now they face an uncertain future.
Through physical improvements and cultural activities, we will work with partners to find new ways to regenerate our high streets. It is a challenge, but with our experience and track record, as well as the knowledge and passion of local councils, businesses and community groups our historic high streets can be thriving social hubs once more.