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MHCLG Launches High Streets Strategy

Posted on in Business News, Cycles News

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has published Build Back Better: High Streets, its vision for supporting high streets. The report announces a new National High Streets Day to celebrate clean streets, the extension of pavement licence measures for a further 12 months and a £150m Community Ownership Fund to save shops at risk of closure.

The Prime Minister has also delivered a speech in ‘levelling up', announcing intentions to extend devolution beyond cities via ‘county deals', while another high streets report, Against All Odds, has been published. The Levelling Up White Paper is expected in the Autumn.

More information about the Build Back Better: High Streets document is in the executive summary below.

"This government has long been committed to supporting our high streets, which are drivers of economic growth, jobs and innovation in all parts of the UK. They are focal points of local pride, with over 4m people employed on British high streets in 2018 and just over 1 in 6 British people living on or around a high street.

Whether through our ambitious Planning White Paper, our once in a lifetime investment in towns and high streets, or our upcoming Levelling Up White Paper, we have prioritised measures
that help give councils and communities the flexibility and support they need to bring out the best for their local areas.

We want to help every part of the country achieve the same: vibrant high streets where communities are at the heart of place-making; where a mix of commercial and residential uses complement each other; and where businesses large and small feel welcome. We will launch a National High Streets Day where local communities can come together to celebrate and clean up their high street and through our record investment in local public services, we will make high streets safer and cleaner with more police and a laser-like focus on cleaning up litter and graffiti.

We want to help areas create a vision that brings together planning, design and management of public spaces and local community assets to create local areas that promote people's health,
happiness, and well-being. We will be relentless in reducing the blight of boarded up shops, uncleanliness and disrepair.

To unleash places' potential, we want local leaders to champion their communities and be confident and flexible in responding to change. Our Great British high streets are at the heart of this country and are the core of what reflects a local area and community.

This document captures this vision and showcases the best of what's already happening across the country, highlighting the work of councils and communities who are successfully using
government support to make their high streets and town centres into thriving, commercial, social and cultural hubs. We will build on innovations seen over the pandemic and provide the
regulatory flexibility that will enable high streets to be the hives of economic and social activity that local communities expect.

This vision sets out how we plan to support places to achieve this vision, focussing on five key priorities:

  1. Breathing new life into empty buildings;
  2. Supporting high street businesses;
  3. Improving the public realm;
  4. Creating safe and clean spaces;
  5. Celebrating pride in local communities

Through these actions, we hope to see more trade and investment as our high streets once again evolve to meet changing demand, as they have done successfully throughout our history. Whilst that change will lead to high streets looking different than recent years, we are committed to driving change that increases footfall and activity that is rooted in community pride.

The government remains determined to level up communities across our United Kingdom. We are steadfastly committed to helping ensure that our people and public services can recover from the impacts of Covid, an ambition which we share with the Devolved Administrations. We want to continue this dialogue as we implement the measures outlined in this strategy, working closely with other public authorities and stakeholders across the country to ensure we target our efforts to deliver the maximum impact and benefit for people in every corner of our great nation. It is through working together, as a strong United Kingdom, that we can engineer a sustainable recovery, building back better, fairer and greener.

We expect councils, businesses and community groups to use the funding and tools set out in this document to help our high streets to adapt. Improvements to the public realm will be visible up and down the country over this parliament and we are confident that investment in our high streets, from both the public and private sector, will kick-start a cycle where people enjoy living, working and spending in their local centres and take even more pride in their localities. And these measures should not be seen in isolation - they are just one part of our ambitious approach to levelling up and helping communities build back better.

Taken together, our approach will empower communities and councils to ensure that our high streets truly can build back better. "

 

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