£675 m to save Britain's high streets

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How the Government plans to save Britain's high streets with £675m injection

They've been hit hard over 2018 but now there could be plans to save Britain's high streets before they become ghost towns.

And high streets across Gloucestershire could get a share of a £675million cash injection to breathe new life back into the county’s town and city centres.

Over the past year major names such as Debenhams and House of Fraser have announced plans to close stores. And restaurants as well as shops have closed doors for the final time leaving many town centres looking bleak. Even stores which were once thought of as invincible are at threat as people’s shopping habits change.

Now the government has announced it will set aside the cash to revive the country’s empty shops. And it will help people in Gloucestershire too.

Local authorities can now apply for grants from the Future High Streets Fund, with £55 million available to restore historic buildings at risk of falling into disrepair.

It's the latest in a series of policy announcements the details of which are intended to reverse the decline of the high street.

Jake Berry, high streets minister and James Brokenshire, secretary of state for housing communities and local government say that the fund would enable councils to turn their high streets around.

“For centuries, our high streets have been where commerce and community meet. They have been the hubs of enterprise, where small businesses grow and local jobs are created, and they are the barometers of our prosperity and the heartbeats of the places we call home.

Today, as consumer patterns change and spending increasingly moves online, our expectations of high streets are changing too.

“A renewed emphasis on 'experience' brings convenience, valuable services and a powerful sense of the community to the fore – that intrinsic desire for something that cannot be replicated online.

“Where this has been achieved successfully, it can transform a community,” they said.

Their plan is to cut business rates by up to a third for a wide range of retail properties for two years, and a consultation to allow planning bosses to make it simpler to create more homes, jobs and choice in town and city centres.

Mr Berry added: “We all know high streets are changing, we can’t hide from this reality. But we’re determined to ensure they continue to sit at the heart of our communities for generations to come.

“To do this we have to support investment in infrastructure, boosting local economies and ensuring people are able to get the most out of their local high streets.”

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