£95m boost for historic high streets

The government is committing £95m into reviving historic high streets in the biggest single cash injection in our built heritage, culture secretary Nicky Morgan announced today.

Sixty-nine towns across England are to benefit with grants of up to £2m, including Coventry’s The Burges (pictured in 1963), Wigan, Tottenham High Road, Bedford, Plymouth and Stoke-on-Trent.

The money will come from a mixture of sources, with £40m coming from the DCMS’s Heritage High Street Fund, £52m from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Street Fund and £3m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

“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” said the Chancellor of Exchequer, Sajid Javid.“This will help places across the country – from South Norwood to Scarborough – protect their treasured historic buildings and support local economies to thrive.”

The scheme is being led by Historic England, which earlier this year called for bids from towns with plans to revive historic buildings in their centres.

 “Our high streets are the beating hearts of our communities” said Historic England’s CEO, Duncan Wilson. “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.”

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