NONE of Gloucestershire’s high streets will get anything from a £675million Government cash pot to inject life back into the country’s town and city centres.
In December councils across England were urged by the Government to bid for new money to save their high streets from becoming ghost towns.
All of Gloucestershire’s six district authorities – Gloucester, Cheltenham, the Cotswolds, Tewkesbury, Stroud and the Forest of Dean – submitted their own bids for a share of the money but none were successful in getting to the shortlist.
More than 50 areas across the country, from Whitehaven in Cumbria to Penzance in Cornwall, were shortlisted for the second phase of the multi-million pound fund, the Government have announced.
The Gloucestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (GFirst LEP), which put forward a letter of support for the six districts, described the outcome as “disappointing”.
A GFirst LEP spokeswoman said: “It was disappointing to hear that none of the bids for the Future High Streets fund were successful within Gloucestershire.
“Upon hearing about the funding opportunity towards the end of last year, GFirst LEP brought the Gloucestershire Retail and High Street communities and Local Authorities in the County together to share ideas whilst developing truly unique expressions of interest for each of their High Streets.
“We knew that the competition would be fierce, so we were really encouraged that all six districts put in an expression of interest: Cheltenham, Cirencester (Cotswolds), Cinderford (Forest), Gloucester, Stroud and Tewkesbury.
“The Local Authorities were responsible for writing and submitting the expressions of interest, and GFirst LEP together with other organisations, were happy to support all six expressions of interest with a letter of support signed by our chair, Diane Savory.”
High Streets minister Jake Berry said: “High Streets are a crucial part of our local economies and people care about them because they are also the centres of their community.
“But we recognise that changing consumer behaviour and the rise of online shopping presents a significant challenge and that’s why we are taking action to help them evolve.
“Many of our high streets are successfully re-inventing themselves and with these new plans now in development, local leaders, who know their areas best, will be driving forward the transformation of their town centres into further great success stories.”
Notes to editors:
The Government press release can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/multi-million-fund-to-revitalise-country-s-high-streets
The shortlist for the Fund can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5d234462ed915d0bc832da73/future-high-streets-fund-shortlist.pdf