High streets levelled up with £7m funding boost

A number of struggling high streets will take part in a new government pilot – the High Street Accelerators programme – to create partnerships that empower residents and community organisations to work together on long-term regeneration plans.

The funding will help communities partner with local authorities and businesses to address some of the biggest challenges facing their high streets – building on wider action to tackle empty shops, anti-social behaviour and a lack of visitors.

The 10 areas, to be called High Street Accelerators, will receive an initial £2.37m to kickstart their partnerships – a total of £237,000 each. They can also apply for a share of up to £5m to improve their high streets’ green spaces and create more pleasant environments for residents to meet and socialise.

This £7m will be spent over the next two years and the impact will be evaluated to inform future government policy and support for left-behind high streets, building on larger interventions like the £1.1bn Long-Term Plan for Towns.

Minister for Levelling Up Jacob Young said: “It has been a tough few years for our high streets following the pandemic and the changes we’ve seen in consumer behaviour. 

“We know that local people know what’s best for their area, and we’re keen to understand the benefits that High Street Accelerators could bring working with local businesses and their communities.  

“These Accelerators will complement other interventions like High Street Rental Auctions, empowering local people to tackle vacancy and other issues on their high streets.

The High Street Accelerators Pilot Programme was announced in March 2023 as part of the Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan. It will complement other interventions designed to revive England’s high streets such as the High Streets Task Force which is helping local leaders to regenerate their areas, and changing planning rules so councils have greater certainty.  

New regulations to be introduced next year will also give local authorities more powers to work with landlords to rent out vacant properties on high streets. The High Street Rental Auctions regulations will allow councils to sell off the rental rights for empty properties to willing tenants, such as businesses and community groups.

Areas receiving funding as part of the High Street Accelerators programme:

  • Abingdon Street and Queen Street in Blackpool
  • Stoke Town Centre in Stoke-on-Trent
  • Queen Street with Blackburn Road and Church Street in Great Harwood Town Centre in Hyndburn
  • Scunthorpe High Street in North Lincolnshire
  • Union Street and Yorkshire Street in Oldham Town Centre
  • The Stepney area of Beverley Road in Hull
  • King William Street in Blackburn Town Centre in Blackburn with Darwen
  • Grimsby Town Centre in North East Lincolnshire
  • Dovercourt Town Centre in Tendring
  • Hyde Town Centre in Tameside

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