Morecambe's Future High St Fund success - through to second round.

July 09, 2019 - 11:45am

Jake Berry in Morecambe

Morecambe, The Eden Of The North, has received up to £150,000 of funding after getting through to the second phase of the government’s £675m Future High Streets Fund. The shortlist has been narrowed down to 50 town, from over 400 initially, and Morecambe is bidding for the maximum amount - £25 million.

The government says the funding is aimed at transforming high streets to make them fit for the future, from improving transport and access into town centres to converting retail units into new homes.

Speaking ahead of a visit to Morecambe town centre High Streets Minister Jake Berry MP said:

“High Streets are a crucial part of our local economies and people care about them because they are also the centres of their community.

“But we recognise that changing consumer behaviour and the rise of online shopping presents a significant challenge and that’s why we are taking action to help them evolve.

“Many of our high streets are successfully re-inventing themselves and with these new plans now in development, local leaders, who know their areas best, will be driving forward the transformation of their town centres into further great success stories.”

Coun Erica Lewis, leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “Developing a thriving and sustainable high street is key to the wellbeing of every town and this announcement is another step closer to achieving that goal. These are exciting times for Morecambe.

“The opening of the Bay Gateway has unlocked the town’s potential for investment, and the exciting plans for Eden North will do so much to support regeneration and job creation.

“We are delighted to receive this funding to support our ongoing work with residents, businesses and community organisations in developing exciting plans and dynamic action that will strengthen the town’s economy for generations to come.”

Last Friday’s announcement comes during the second Great British High Street Week, a week of activity to celebrate high streets up and down the country and share the work that government is undertaking to support them. This includes:

  • cutting small retailers’ business rates bills by a third, building on over £13 billion of business rates support since 2016
  • trialling the ‘Open Doors’ scheme in Stoke-on-Trent, Bradford, Rochford, Kettering and Slough where empty shops will be opened up to community groups offering services to the most vulnerable in our communities
  • on the recommendation of the government appointed High Streets Expert Panel chaired by the hugely successful entrepreneur Sir John Timpson has this week launched a Town Centre Task Force to give local leaders expert advice and support in implementing their plans to revitalise their local high streets
  • enabling more areas to set up a Business Improvement District to support business owners and local leaders in bringing communities together to deliver additional local services and transform commercial area

Morecambe BID, and other partners, helped Lancaster City Council formulate the bid and strategy.