A new £95m government-funded scheme will support 68 “historic” high streets in England to recover from “declining footfall” and the impact of the pandemic.
The initiative, High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ), will work with local authorities to convert disused buildings into new shops, workplaces and community spaces.
HSHAZ will be funded through £40m from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport and £52m from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. A further £3m will be provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The new HSHAZ funding follows a demonstrator scheme launched in Coventry in 2019, in which £2m in additional funds helped “revitalise” 21 buildings in the area.
Oliver Dowden, culture secretary, said: “Our high streets are the beating heart of our communities and, now more than ever, have a crucial role to play in helping our towns and cities to recover from the pandemic.”
Kelly Tolhurst , high streets minister, added: “This new funding will help to transform and restore historic buildings, creating new homes, shops and community spaces, and reinvigorating local high streets up and down the country.”