Today Robert Jenrick announced a boost for the high street and seaside resorts as we look forward to a much more normal and free summer. Providing a package of support to kickstart communities under the name the ‘Welcome Back Fund’ it is hoped tourism, green spaces, pop up markets and high streets can be boosted.
Councils will be able to use the funding for items like planting on street, outdoor seating areas, running publicity campaigns and events, improving signage, running clear up projects including on graffiti and looking into projects which can allow people to reunite with friends and relatives safely.
Furthermore a High Streets Task Force has been established and will work closely with 70 local authorities to help them meet the changing demands and build for the future.
Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:
As we move to the next stage on the roadmap out of lockdown we are all looking forward to being reunited with friends and family outdoors and making a safe and happy return to our favourite shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants.
Our Welcome Back Fund gives every city, town and high street support to prepare for a great summer. This funding will help councils and businesses to welcome shoppers, diners and tourists back safely.
As soon as the roadmap allows, we need to get behind our local businesses and enjoy all that this country has to offer and that we’ve been missing so much.
I’m allowing every pub in the country to erect a marquee in their garden for the whole summer as a one-off power to support our locals.
This work is in addition to a package of support including allowing Councils to be more flexible with pubs, shops and restaurants (eg erecting marquees outside or allowing outdoor dining) a £350m Future High Streets Fund for long term developments, the Permitted Development Rights scheme to help Councils make use of disused buildings, a review on public toilet accessibility and looking at ways to keep parking, transport into town centres and market spaces affordable.
With many shops set to re-open again next month, this new funding will no doubt be welcomed as it will take some time to rebuild consumer confidence and remind everyone the high streets are open again!