Cash boost planned to help Wolverhampton's city centre shops
The ongoing challenge for high street businesses in Wolverhampton city centre to survive the hardships of the current economic climate has been given a lifeline, council leaders revealed this week.
In December 2018 the government announced a new ‘Future High Street Fund’ (FHSF) initiative, designed to help combat the issues faced by retailers and stores all over the country.
Following the award of £150,000 to Wolverhampton as part of the plan, the council’s financial bosses are now looking to create a supplementary expenditure budget as a way of helping struggling businesses on the city's main shopping area, Dudley Street.
The grant was given to the city by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), with the overall project estimated to bring in £625 million in funding, along with the establishment of a national high street support taskforce.
In a report to to Wolverhampton Council’s cabinet resources panel, head of enterprise, Isobel Woods, said: “Early in the summer, the council heard that it had been named as one of 50 locations in the UK to get a grant.
“This £150,000 will now be used to develop an application for the second round of FHSF, and this has the potential to attract another £25m in capital for us.
“We received our formal letter confirming the grant from the MHCLG this week and the funds have been deposited in the council’s bank account.
“Now our officers are committed to producing an application which will include a clear vision for the west side of the city centre – one which will attract both public and private investment, with a number of small commissions also being issued.
“This is the first and only funding initiative to come from the government, and it will specifically be used to create more green spaces and improve people’s lives by generating more jobs,” she added.
A spokesperson for the council said it anticipated the majority of the funding being used in the remainder of 2019-20, with the balance of the grant being spent in 2020-21 in support of the bid.
The council’s cabinet resources panel will discuss the matter further this week.