Kingswood should be the top priority for a new regional High Streets initiative, according to the area’s local MP. This week the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) announced a £10million pilot ‘Love Our High Streets’ initiative for community-led high street regeneration in each of the 3 local authorities that make up WECA, including South Gloucestershire.
The announcement came in the same week as the Budget in which the Chancellor announced a new Future High Streets Fund to invest £675 million in England to support local areas to develop and fund plans to make our high streets and town centres fit for the future. It will include £55 million for heritage-based regeneration, restoring historic high streets to boost retail and bring properties back into use as homes, offices and cultural venues.
Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore is calling for Kingswood High Street to be the initial High Street pilot in South Gloucestershire, saying: “The West of England’s Love our High Streets initiative will be a positive step towards giving our communities the opportunity to lead the way, breathing new life into their High Streets. Coming hot on the heels of the government’s own Future High Streets Fund, it’s great to see our local centres getting so much national and local attention backed up by serious levels of funding”
He continued: “As the local MP, I am encouraging both the Combined Authority and the Council to select Kingswood High Street as the first of what I hope will be many such High Street initiatives across the area. In Kingswood’s case, this will build on the real sense of momentum that we have established in recent months to improve the Kings Chase Shopping Centre and bring derelict sites back into use, such as the Whitfield Tabernacle. Local people demand investment in their local town centres and High Streets and I will continue to champion them across the constituency.”