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Government names 72 high streets in England to share £831m recovery fund


The government has named 72 high streets across England that have been selected to receive £831m of investment to help fund their recovery from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and to protect jobs.

Robert Jenrick, the communities secretary, said the money would “help our much-loved town centres get through this and prosper into the future”. However, the Labour party said the government had originally promised £1bn when it launched the Future High Streets Fund.

“The year ahead will be a big one for the high street as it seeks to recover, adapt and evolve as a result of the pandemic,” Jenrick said. “Today’s £830m investment from the Future High Streets Fund is one of many ways the government is working to help our much-loved town centres get through this and prosper into the future.

“The role of the high street has always evolved. We want to support that change and make sure that they are the beating heart of their local community – with high quality housing and leisure in addition to shops and restaurants.”

Jenrick said the money – which was first promised in 2018 to help high streets struggling long before the coronavirus pandemic – would “help us build back better and make town centres a more attractive place to live, work and visit”.

The government said the injection of cash was a “key milestone for the government’s levelling-up agenda”. “The funding will help these areas transform their high streets into vibrant hubs for future generations and to protect and create thousands of jobs,” the Department for Communities and Local Government said.





Sunderland station



Sunderland will improve its 1960s train station with the government funding. Photograph: Washington Imaging/Alamy

Swindon and Sunderland are to get the most money – £25m each – to fund a “bus boulevard” in the Wiltshire town and to improve Sunderland’s 1960s railway station.

A total of 15 towns and cities are to receive all the money they had bid for, totalling £255m. Another 57 areas have received provisional funding offers worth a combined £576m.

The £831m total is £169m short of the £1bn Boris Johnson promised in August 2019 would “re-energise and transform” more than 100 high streets across the country. Johnson had said the Future High Streets Fund would support more than 100 high streets.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said £107m of the missing money had been transferred to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to fund the regeneration of heritage high streets. She said a further £15.1m had been spent on helping 101 local authorities make their bids for the cash. Some of the remaining money was spent on “developing a new parking code”, she said.

Some high streets that were shortlisted by the prime minister in August 2019 were not selected to receive any funds. They include Barrow, Blackpool, Bideford and Runcorn.

The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, said: “We are supporting our high streets to get through this pandemic through business grants, paying people’s wages and tax deferrals.

“The Future High Streets Fund will help areas bounce back through regeneration projects that level up opportunities and create jobs right across the country.”

Among the projects selected for the funding were £17.9m for the renovation of the Scala Theatre and Corn Exchange in Worcester, a scheme to build 186 homes in Birkenhead and a plan to convert empty retail units in Tamworth, Staffordshire, into community spaces.

Jeremy Oates, Tamworth borough council’s cabinet member for heritage and growth, said: ““The projects couldn’t just be a case of smartening up an outdoor space or adding hanging baskets, the government is looking for change on a large and transformative scale, in a way that recognises the changing role of the town centre and enables it to survive and thrive on the basis of what people want. Our bid includes a number of very exciting projects which are focused on creating the right foundations for a town centre that is at the heart of the community.”

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The government was encouraged to launch the scheme by Sir John Timpson, the owner of the shoe repair chain that carries his name. He had called for councils to be given more money to turn town centres into communities and meeting places, highlighting that high streets were not just about shopping.

“By helping our towns create their own individual community hub,” Timpson said at the time, “I believe we will have vibrant town centres to provide a much-needed place for face to face contact in the digital age.”

Full list of selected high streets

15 places have been selected to receive all the money they asked for

1. Tamworth £21,652,555

2. Sunderland £25,000,000

3. Sutton £11,346,704

4. Bishop Auckland £19,856,853

5. Blyth £11,121,059

6. Kidderminster £20,510,598

7. Old Kent Road, Southwark £9,605,854

8. Swindon £25,000,000

9. Stockport £14,500,000

10. Winsford £9,980,000

11. Sheffield £15,817,001

12. Blackfriars, Worcester £17,939,000

13. Birkenhead £24,581,011

14. Brierley Hill £9,985,689

15. Stretford £17,605,674

A further 57 places will receive provisional funding offers

1. Leamington Spa £10,015,121

2. Nuneaton £13,362,736

3. Wolverhampton £15,760,196

4. Walsall £11,439,967

5. Newcastle-under-Lyme £11,048,260

6. Stafford £14,377,723

7. Tottenham £10,019,648

8. Woolwich £17,150,964

9. Wealdstone– £7,448,583

10. Putney– £1,058,706

11. Elland £6,310,812

12. Northallerton £6,085,013

13. Rotherham £12,660,708

14. Halifax £11,762,823

15. Barnsley £15,624,456

16. Scunthorpe £10,675,323

17. New Ferry, Wirral – £3,213,523

18. Wigan £16,633,691

19. Crewe £14,148,128

20. Rochdale £17,080,458

21. Farnworth, Bolton £13,306,817

22. Oldham £10,750,237

23. Kirkham, Fylde – £6,290,831

24. Maryport, Allerdale – £11,527,839

25. Carlisle £9,129,874

26. Plymouth £12,046,873

27. Barnstable £6,548,876

28. Newton Abbot £9,199,364

29. Paignton £13,363,248

30. Kingswood £12,555,464

31. Salisbury £9,355,731

32. Penzance £10,403, 112

33. Trowbridge £16,347,056

34. Yeovil £9,756,897

35. Taunton £13,962,981

36. Loftus £5,833,628

37. Middlesbrough £14,170,352

38. Stockton £16,543,812

39. South Shields £5,959,187

40. Derby, St Peters Cross £15,034,398

41. Sutton-in-Ashfield £6,279,872

42. Grantham £5,558,818

43. Grimsby £17,280,917

44. Nottingham, West End Point £12,523,981

45. Heanor £8,592,837

46. Northampton £8,442,730

47. Buxton £6,608,223

48. Dover £3,202,226

49. Newhaven £5,004,939

50. Chatham £9,497,720

51. Ramsgate £2,704,213

52. Commercial Road, Portsmouth £3,122,375

53. Fratton, Portsmouth £3,858,489

54. High Wycombe £11,886,876

55. St Neots £3,748,815

56. March, Fenland £6,447,129

57. Great Yarmouth £13,774,430



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