The ‘Welcome Back Fund’ for High Streets and Seaside Resorts
A new fund of £56million has been announced to support a safe reopening of high streets and seaside resorts following the pandemic. The Welcome Back Fund is designed to help councils prepare for an influx of shoppers and tourists once Lockdown measures are lifted, boost local economies and to help give reassurance that it’s possible to shop and socialise safely.
The Fund is aimed to help councils boost tourism, improve green spaces and provide more outdoor seating areas, markets and food stall pop-ups to give people more safer options to reunite with friends and relatives.
Part of the funding will be allocated specifically to support coastal areas, with funding going to all coastal resorts across England.
The funding can also be used by councils to:
- Boost the look and feel of their high streets by investing in street planting, parks, green spaces and seating areas to make high streets as beautiful and welcoming as possible
- Run publicity campaigns and prepare to hold events like street markets and festivals to support local businesses
- Install signage and floor markings to encourage social distancing and safety
- Improve high streets and town centres by planting flowers or removing graffiti
High Streets will be able to gain support from the Government’s High Streets Task force who will provide advice on how to adapt to meet changing consumer demands over coming years.
Pubs and Restaurants
Businesses such as pubs and restaurants will be allowed to set up marquees to provide more outdoor space for diners as restrictions ease, allowing them to serve more customers and start to recover from the effects of the pandemic. These marquees can be kept up for the whole summer rather than the 28 days currently permitted.
The Government has published a response to the Parking Code Framework, to curb parking tickets and reduce the occurrence of ‘cowboy’ parking firms through a new, simplified appeals process.
Support for the High Street
The measures add to current funding already in place for high streets to support the retail and hospitality sector including:
- £350m from the Future High Streets Fund to be invested in 72 areas across England to renew and reshape town centres – making them a more attractive place to live, work and visit;
- protections from the threat of eviction for businesses unable to pay their rent have been extended until the end of June 2021, helping businesses get back on their feet as restrictions lift across England;
- the High Street Homes Permitted Development Rights will make it easier for disused buildings to be repurposed and provide housing;
- providing restaurants, pubs and cafes with the freedom to offer takeaway services; and making it easier for businesses and communities to host markets and stalls so customers can be served safely;
The provision of public toilets is also being reviewed to ensure that there are appropriate facilities for visitors to town centres.
Through the £4.8bn Levelling Up Fund, the £220m Community Renewal Fund and the £3.6bn Towns Fund the government is investing in long term infrastructure projects to level up towns and rural areas.
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