Urban Areas: Regeneration

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities written question – answered on 22nd September 2022.

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Photo of Matt Vickers Matt Vickers Conservative, Stockton South

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to help support the regeneration of towns and high streets.

Photo of Dehenna Davison Dehenna Davison Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

Regenerating our high streets and town centres is essential to this Government's commitment to level up the country. Now, more than ever, it is vital that we continue to help our local economies by supporting town centres and high streets to innovate, evolve and thrive.

We are taking concrete steps towards reviving our high streets and town centres by committing billions of pounds to support economic growth and regeneration for high streets, through the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund. This is in addition to the £3.6 billion Towns Fund, which includes support for 101 Town Deals and 72 Future High Streets Fund projects, as well as the £220 million UK-wide Community Renewal Fund. Along with funding for capital projects, these also included significant revenue funding to provide resources to local authorities developing plans and projects.

Funding is only one way in which we are supporting local authorities. Beyond this, we are providing support to local leadership with the High Streets Task Force, which delivers hands-on support to local areas most in need, to develop data-driven innovative strategies and to connect local areas to relevant experts.

The Government has also introduced reforms to use classes to enable more flexible use of existing buildings. The use class reform creates a new ‘commercial, business and service’ use class which encompasses a wide range of uses which will attract people to high streets and town centres.

Furthermore, on Wednesday 11 May we introduced the Levelling Up & Regeneration Bill. This new legislation will play an important role in reviving our high streets by introducing High Street Rental Auctions (HSRAs). HSRAs will empower places to tackle decline by bringing vacant units back into use and will seek to increase cooperation between landlords and local authorities, and to make town centre tenancies more accessible and affordable for tenants, including SMEs, local businesses and community groups.

This will help create attractive and lively high streets, with increased footfall and activity which attracts people and businesses, increases pride in place and avoids the long-term presence of vacancies, ensuring high streets remain viable now and in the future.

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