Council bids for much needed High Street Fund

Plymouth City Council has submitted an expression of interest for funding to improve the city centre.

The £675 million Future High Street Fund aims to renew and reshape high streets by improving infrastructure, accessibility and experience. The fund will contribute up to a maximum of £25 million for a successful bid.

With major challenges including a decline in demand for shops due to online shopping, an ageing building stock and a declining footfall, it is more important than ever to invest in the city centre.

Councillor Mark Lowry, Cabinet member for Finance said: “The City Council has made regenerating the city centre a high priority and we have achieved a great deal over the last few years. However, the lack of Government’s interest and investment and the impact of its austerity measures over the last decade continue to stifle growth.

“This is a chance for the Government to put its money where its mouth is. Securing this funding would help us provide a better experience not just for Plymouth residents but also the tens of thousands of people who visit our city every week. It would support ambition for a bustling, lively city centre that supports more jobs and is an outstanding place to shop, visit and live in.”

Steve Hughes, Chief Executive of the Plymouth City Centre Company, said: “We have worked closely with the council in the preparation of this bid for government funding which would provide a huge boost to our joint ambition of revitalising the city centre. This will help us improve the look and feel of the city and attract more shoppers and visitors and help our shops and other businesses to thrive.”

If successful, the funding will help deliver the change set out in our City Centre Masterplan and policies in the Joint Local Plan. This could include Old Town Street/ New George Street retail and public realm improvements, West End branding and public realm improvements, Civic Square refurbishment and Colin Campbell Court redevelopment.

This expression of interest has been endorsed by Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership.