High Street campaigners have welcomed news that Kingswood High Street is to receive backing through the government’s Future High Streets Fund.
Last month, the Prime Minister set out his Government’s plan to unite and level up across our country, turbo-charging our cities, our towns, our coastal communities and rural areas. He committed to a £3.6 billion Towns Fund demonstrating a commitment to prosperity in towns across the country. Following this extension of the Future High Streets Fund (FHSF) programme, Kingswood has been selected to go through to the next stage.
South Gloucestershire Council had submitted a Kingswood expression of interest bid earlier in the year to complement the wider regional Love Our High Streets project that’s been launched in conjunction with the West of England Combined Authority, headed by Mayor Tim Bowles.
In progressing to this next phase of government assessment with up to £150,000 of funding, the Council will need to develop a full business case for capital investment. The FHSF will provide capital funding to places to invest in infrastructure, housing and work spaces.
This latest news follows a flurry of activity designed to boost Kingswood High Street.
Earlier this month planning approval was granted to save the listed Whitfield Tabernacle heritage site, subject to completing a legal agreement.
WECA funding from a £3million pot for Kingswood will ensure a scheme of stabilisation is undertaken to protect the Tabernacle building and a bid has been submitted to Historic England for its full restoration so it can be used by the community once again. And a consultation continues on plans to submit a lottery bid to transform Kingswood Park.
Local MP Chris Skidmore said:
“There’s been an extraordinary sense of momentum in the last year towards regenerating our much-loved Kingswood High Street – and this government announcement that Kingswood has made it through to the latest stage of the Future High Streets Fund is yet another piece of very welcome news.
As the Secretary of State himself has said, it is a great achievement for the Council to have made it into the business case development phase of the FHSF and demonstrates that its expression of interest document was one of the very best that my department received.
I look forward to supporting the Kingswood bid as it progresses to its next stage and towards an all-important potential national award of funding to make various improvements that respond to what the community is asking for - and which complements the regional funding that has already been awarded by Mayor Tim Bowles.
This past year has been a real game-changer for our High Streets as they are now firmly on the national, regional and local agenda and I look forward to seeing more vibrant and thriving High Streets not just in Kingswood, but across the local area.”
The government plan to announce the list of authorities that are successful in obtaining capital funding for their transformational schemes by spring 2020.
More details can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/1-billion-future-high-streets-fund-expanded-to-50-more-areas