Local authorities across the West Midlands are bidding for a share of the Government’s £675m Future High Streets Fund.
The money is intended for the regeneration of town centres through initiatives such as the improvement of transport networks, the redevelopment of retail units into new homes, and the restoration of historic buildings for use as work or community space.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and former managing director of John Lewis, has encouraged local authorities to enter bids.
He said: “From my own experience in the retail industry, I know how important it is for high streets to be lively, busy places that people want to go to. When town centres have large, empty shop fronts in key locations, this starts a downward spiral, with fewer people visiting and more businesses closing as a result.
“We need to reverse this decline. Successful bids for the Future High Streets Fund will give our member authorities further support to deliver the innovative, transformational change that is so much needed to benefit more of our communities. We will work with them to develop business cases and a range of investment opportunities.”
The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has already promised £20m to unlock land for regeneration in five town centres: Bilston, St Thomas Quarter in Dudley, Bordesley Green in Birmingham, St Matthews Quarter in Walsall, and West Bromwich.