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£62m regeneration fund announced for ‘heritage’ high streets

The government has announced a £62m fund to improve ‘heritage’ high streets across the country.

The funding will be used to regenerate places by turning disused or underused buildings into creative spaces, offices, retail outlets and housing.

Treasury research claims that for every £1 invested in heritage in England, £1.60 is brought into the wider area.

As part of the package, £44m will be spent creating dozens of ‘High Streets Heritage Action Zones’ overseen by Historic England.

Local authorities can now apply to the scheme, which will give councils, businesses and community groups access to expert advice and investment to bring historic buildings back into use and support historic high streets to adapt to the challenges they face.

A £15m ‘Transforming Places Through Heritage Programme’ will also open in June to support social enterprises take ownership of and bring buildings of local importance – such as pubs, libraries or theatres, as well as shops – back into use.

A further £3m will come from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support a cultural programme to engage people in the life and history of their high streets.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said: ‘Our heritage makes communities more attractive places to live, work and visit.

‘This £62 million investment will breathe new life into high streets right across the country, benefiting local people and businesses, as well as providing assistance to much-loved historic buildings.

‘It is right that we do all we can to not only protect our heritage but make it work for modern life so it can be enjoyed by as many people as possible.’

In related news, the national high street ‘perfect day’ pilot launched in Altrincham on Friday (May 17).

The day was first suggested in Sir John Timpson’s The High Street Report, which called for a community-led approach towards supporting high streets, including one day in the year when every town centre looks the best it possibly can.

Altrincham businesses, schools, voluntary groups and Trafford council took part in litter picks, while local schools worked with the Keep Britain Tidy ‘Eco-Schools’ programme to learn more about protecting the environment.

Photo credit – Pixabay.

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