Wednesbury and Brierley Hill to get share of £95 million high streets handout
Wednesbury and Brierley Hill’s shopping streets are to share in a £95 million government handout aimed at revitalising ailing high streets.
The cash will be allocated over the next four years through the High Streets Heritage Action Zone.
The majority of the Future High Street Fund will be spent on essential repairs to historic buildings, developing educational projects to turn the sites into community hubs, and helping increase skills shortages in areas like stonemasonry.
The nationwide scheme will be run by Historic England. Regional director Louise Brennan said: “It’s fantastic news for the people and businesses of these areas that are set to receive much-needed funding to help support their historic high streets.”
Sixty nine high streets across England that will benefit from the funding, which combines £40 million from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport with £52 million from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Street Fund. £3 million comes from the Lottery.
Ministers said towns and cities from Plymouth to Middlesbrough will now be able to start spending the cash, which had previously been announced in May.
The Midlands will receive the largest slice of the funds, with £21.1 million going on projects including £2 million for a project in Coventry’s ancient shopping street, The Burges.
On that project, it will be used to buy and restore Coventry’s historic buildings in the few areas of the city to survive the bombing in World War Two.
Up to £2 million will also go to Stoke-on-Trent to redevelop vacant buildings within its conservation area with a focus on creating more homes.
Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan said: “Our nation’s heritage is one of our great calling cards to the world, attracting millions of visitors to beautiful historic buildings that sit at the heart of our communities.
“It is right that we ensure these buildings are preserved for future generations but it is important that we make them work for the modern world.”
Communities Secretary of State Robert Jenrick said: “Today’s funding, part of the £3.6 billion we have committed to helping towns across the country, will revitalise much-loved historic buildings, helping to reverse the decline of our town centres.”