Crawley MP welcomes new strategy to revive high streets

Henry Smith MP has welcomed the launch of the Government’s new Build Back Better High Streets Strategy – which sets out how high streets will be transformed into thriving places to live, work and visit after the pandemic.

Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 10:04 am

New Government high street strategy has been published setting out how town centres will be transformed into vibrant places to live, work and visit.

The strategy includes details on how communities can bid to take over local football clubs, theatres, pubs and stadiums at risk of closure – as well as measures to support the hospitality industry so that local residents enjoy a great British summer together outdoors.

Henry Smith, MP for Crawley

Henry said: "I know how much people in Crawley treasure the high street – and as we emerge from the pandemic, I’m determined to support the recovery so the high street can thrive in the long-term.

“This high street strategy will help to deliver that – supporting hospitality businesses with more freedoms to trade, encouraging local events so that people can come together and enjoy themselves, and giving local people a real stake in their community.

“As we build back better this strategy shows how the Government is delivering.”

The regeneration of the great British high street was a key part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s landmark Levelling Up speech on Thursday 15th July, which set out the steps the Government will take to deliver on its central mission – to level up and unite every part of the United Kingdom.

Measures in the strategy include extending pavement licences and the outdoor sales of alcohol for twelve months; empowering councils to take over vacant buildings through compulsory purchase orders so they can be converted into high quality homes; and backing more entrepreneurs, start-ups and independent businesses through new guidance for areas on how they can best support local businesses.

As part of the Government’s drive to improve the look and feel of high streets, the strategy also introduces plans to eradicate the scourge of chewing gum litter blighting our high streets, along with new guidance for councils to manage graffiti; and outlines how millions of trees will be planted on high streets to improve green spaces.

It will also be easier for people to hold street parties and picnics during national celebrations like the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games, as well as for The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022, encouraging local events so that communities across the UK can come together and celebrate local culture and pride.

Further details have also been published setting out how community groups in Crawley can bid for up to £250,000 in matched funding through the Government’s new £150 million Community Ownership Fund to take over local pubs, theatres, shops and sports grounds at risk of closure.

In some cases, up to £1 million will be made available to establish sports clubs or help to buy sports grounds at risk without community intervention.

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government, Robert Jenrick, said: “As we build back better from the pandemic, we have a once in a generation opportunity to transform our high streets into the kind of vibrant places we will want to visit, work and live for generations to come.

“This strategy sets out a vision for entrepreneurship to thrive, where empty buildings are transformed into quality homes and disused shopping centres become buzzing new hubs for business and entertainment.

“With more funding for town centres and powers for communities to take a stake in their local area, we are delivering on our commitments to level up and cement real and lasting change for all areas of the country.”