£255k funding boost for CBC to help local high streets reopen


  • Central Bedfordshire will receive £255,873 to help local high streets reopen and attract shoppers and tourists.
The Government is investing a total of £56 million through the Welcome Back Fund to help councils prepare for the end of lockdown when it is safe to do so. This is part of a wider package of measures to revitalise high streets and level up communities – including steps to make it easier for eateries to serve customers outdoors and set up market stalls this Summer.

Improvements can be made to local high streets across Central Bedfordshire to help them safely and successfully open after lockdown.

A total of £56 million will be invested through the new Welcome Back Fund to help councils across England boost tourism, improve green spaces and provide more outdoor seating areas, markets and food stall pop-ups – giving people more, safer options to reunite with friends and relatives this Summer.

South West Bedfordshire MP, Andrew Selous said he was delighted Central Bedfordshire is getting £255,873 and looks forward to seeing how the money will be spent to help attract people back to the high streets post-lockdown.

Councils can use the funding to hold street markets and festivals, boost the look and feel of their high streets, with more seating areas and street planting or less graffiti, and install new signage to help keep people safe as restrictions are lifted.

This is part of a package announced by the Government to attract people back to high streets safely this Summer, including:

  • Making it easier for hospitality businesses to operate as takeaways and host markets and stalls.
  • Enabling businesses like pubs and restaurants to use their land more flexibly, for example by setting up a marquee or creating new outside space, for the whole summer, so they can serve more customers and recover from the effects of the pandemic.
  • Extending pavement licenses for another 12 months, so venues can continue serving customers ‘al fresco’ for longer without red tape.
  • Tackling Cowboy private parking firms whose rogue practices can keep visitors away from town.
 
The Government has provided billions of investment through the £3.6 billion Towns Fund and £1 billion Future High Streets Fund to regenerate town centres and spruce up high streets, and recently announced a new £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund which will give every council in the UK access to up to £20 million to make their area a more attractive place to visit.

It has also supported high street businesses throughout the pandemic with targeted tax cuts, business rates relief and grants as part of an economic package worth £407 billion this year and next; enabled eateries and pubs to keep serving customers as takeaways during lockdown, and is making it easier for disused buildings in town centres to be repurposed to end the scourge of ugly buildings that drive away footfall.

Commenting, Andrew Selous said, “I know how difficult it has been for businesses on our high streets over the last year, and I am determined to secure them all the help they need to recover. 

“That is why I am delighted that our area will receive £255,873 as part of the Government’s new Welcome Back Fund, which will help our high streets to reopen safely and successfully this Summer as restrictions lift.

“This will ensure that our high streets have the support they need as we move into recovery, and build back better from the pandemic.”