The West of England Combined Authority Committee has agreed to establish a West of England Love our High Streets fund of up to £10m to support high streets across the region.
Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire councils will carry out pilot projects in each of their areas – including Bath, Bedminster, Kingswood and Midsomer Norton.
Regional Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “We’re creating exciting opportunities, with some great pilot projects from our three constituent councils to transform key high streets and town centres and give them a renewed vigour. The future of our high streets isn’t just about shops, it’s about our businesses, community activities, services and homes. Through Love our High Streets, we’ll work with our councils and communities to embrace the future of our high streets in the digital age, and explore how we can secure funding, expertise and support to revive our town centres.”
Cllr Tim Warren, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “This will help us to keep the life-blood in the city and town centres across Bath and North East Somerset – so it’s great that we’re getting things moving so quickly, and I thank Cllr Paul Myers for bringing the idea forward and driving this project. We need to make visiting our high streets a real lifestyle choice for more people. The West of England Combined Authority is all about improving transport and the local economy so I’m really pleased to see Love our High Street coming forward.”
Cllr Craig Cheney, Deputy Mayor of Bristol with responsibility for Finance, Governance and Performance, said: “We are all too aware of the retail crisis impacting our centres and high streets. This is brilliant news for our pilot project in Bedminster to rejuvenate East Street, Bedminster Parade, Cannon Street and part of North Street – giving them a boost. We will work with our local communities to make sure that they are involved in helping to make the project a success.”