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Fund to revitalise high streets

Richmond Hill at Sunset towards town square - Credit BCP Council

A new fund to rejuvenate and promote the region's high streets has launched.

BCP Council’s High Street Renewal Fund will enable a series of projects to reinvigorate the high street and will be delivered in partnership with local groups and businesses.

The fund has the aim of creating enriching experiences and activities for residents and visitors, that are not just centred around shopping.

It will seek to address some of the challenges that high streets across the country are facing due to changing shopping and working patterns in today’s global economy.

Consideration will be given to the potential for a new ‘incubator space’ in Bournemouth town centre focused on supporting independent businesses, examining the supply and demand for different types of high street floorspace and refreshing the public realm.

Proposals include the creation of a multi-disciplinary officer team to work with external partners to deliver the aspirations for town centres as community, cultural and wellbeing hubs.

The fund aims to build momentum and jump start a number of projects to unlock further investment in the area and foster and support our work with strategic partners.

BCP Council Leader, Cllr Philip Broadhead said: “While many of our district high streets are buzzing with activity, having seen a resurgence post-covid and supported by our High Streets and District Centres Strategy, our core town centres are changing rapidly.

“We've seen a swift move away from a retail-led offer, with many familiar brands leaving the high street.

“While the council don’t own any of the shops or units on our core high streets, we absolutely need to continue supporting this rapid change to ensure that our high streets of the future are exciting and continue to draw in new residents and visitors as their offer changes.

“Working with partners, our aim with the High Street Renewal Fund is to accelerate and help steer this change, working with some of our key partners.

“Whether it’s tackling empty shops or looking to new public realm improvements, we won’t rest until our core high streets find their new place. They’re the heart of our towns and it’s critical we keep supporting them.”

The High Street Renewal Fund initiatives are aligned with the strategic objectives of the BCP Council High Streets and District Centres Strategy and aspirations of the recently adopted Tourism and Culture Strategies.

Posted on Wednesday 22 March 2023