“Welcome Back” fund for high streets and seaside towns
A £56 million government Welcome Back fund was announced in March by Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick.
The funding has been helping councils in the preparation of the safe return of shoppers and tourists, including costs towards employing extra staff to keep events and festivals COVID safe.
Pubs, restaurants and listed buildings have been granted flexibility to make more use of their land to accommodate more people in meeting up to enjoy themselves, including erecting marquees in pub gardens for the duration of Summer.
Good news for seaside towns
Specific support has been allocated to seaside areas, with funding going out to all coastal resorts across England to make holiday makers feel safe and welcome throughout the Summer.
£9.6 million of this funding has been allocated to the South East, with local authorities receiving the following sums:
- Adur: £121,721
- Brighton and Hove: £324,269
- Chichester: £173,161
- Crawley: £100,153
- Horsham: £128,133
- Mid Sussex: £133,898
- Worthing: £163,168
Councils may use the funding to:
- Boost the look and feel of their high streets by investing in street planting, parks, green spaces and seating areas
- Run publicity campaigns and hold events such as street markets and festivals to help support and boost local businesses
- Install signage and floor markings to support social distancing and safety measures
- Improve the look and feel of high streets and town centres by planting flowers or removing graffiti
Support for the high street
Some of the measures announced in the funding to support the Retail and Hospitality sector include:
- £350 million from the Future High Streets Fund to be invested in 72 areas across England to renew and reshape town centres.
- 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 provision of public toilets is also being reviewed to ensure that there are appropriate facilities for visitors to town centres.
In his announcement of the funding, Mr Jenrick commented:
“As we move to the next stage on the roadmap out of lockdown we are all looking forward to being reunited with friends and family outdoors and making a safe and happy return to our favourite shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants. Our Welcome Back Fund gives every city, town and high street support to prepare for a great summer. This funding will help councils and businesses to welcome shoppers, diners and tourists back safely.”
“As soon as the roadmap allows, we need to get behind our local businesses and enjoy all that this country has to offer and that we’ve been missing so much.”