Humber Local Enterprise Partnership allocates almost £2m in funding to benefit the region’s high stre
The Humber Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) Board approved funding to support the region’s high streets. The Humber High Street Challenge Fund will see the Humber LEP allocate £1.95m to projects to boost the region’s high streets – funded by the Government’s Local Growth Fund as part of their commitment to the Northern Powerhouse.
The Humber High Street Challenge Fund will encourage private sector landlords and property owners to undertake building and conversion projects that will improve high streets, diversifying the traditional high street offer and bringing unused floor space back into use.
These projects will take place in areas with the most need in all four of the Humber local authority areas, comprising of:
- Hull: Whitefriargate in the Old Town
- East Riding of Yorkshire: Clock Tower area of Goole
- North Lincolnshire Council: Scunthorpe town centre
- North East Lincolnshire: Kasbah area of Grimsby.
The project will aim to deliver early improvement works in advance of larger scale investments, including the Government’s Future High Streets Fund. It was recently announced that Hull City Council, who will lead the delivery of this scheme, has been successful in the first stage of bidding for capital investment from the Future High Streets Fund.
The Humber LEP recognises through its proposed Humber Industrial Strategy the importance of supporting places, including high streets, to diversify and adapt for the future. This will enable every part of the Humber to play to its strengths, whilst improving connectivity between places to ensure that everyone has the chance to benefit from the Humber’s increased earning power.
The Humber High Street Challenge fund is just one way the LEP plans continue to build on improved perceptions of the Humber as a place to live, work, learn and invest.
In practical terms, the Fund will support target areas in locations that are already set for regeneration, through measures such as scaling back retail space where appropriate, diversification of the traditional retail-dominated high street, opportunities to convert some retail units to residential use, tailoring development/change of use to the unique nature of each urban space and encouraging innovative proposals to bring vacant spaces back to use.
If funding is approved, it is set to be match-funded by £1.86m in public funding and £2.41m from the private sector – bringing the total available for the region’s high streets to £6,221,010.
The programme could see up to 278 new jobs created, with 6,574 sqm of commercial floorspace brought back into use.
Chair of the Humber LEP, Lord Haskins, said:
“The Humber High Street Challenge Fund has the potential to make a real difference to the region’s high streets.
“Measures such as diversification and repurposing of traditional retail space could breathe new life into our town and city centres, helping the Humber become a more attractive place to live and work.
“I am delighted that the Humber’s Local Growth Fund allocation, which we have secured from Government, could support regeneration of the region’s high streets and have a positive impact for our residents and businesses alike.”
“With this investment, we’ll be identifying key vacant sites and bringing them back in to use, acting as a catalyst to further reform and diversify of our town centre.”
Councillor Richard Burton, leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said:
“Securing this funding from the Humber LEP is yet more great news for Goole. The funding will support the council in improving the town centre by reducing the vacancy rates of commercial properties in the clock tower area and encourage private sector investment. It is exciting times for the town with a number of large scale investments and projects coming to the area, which will boost the local economy and help create new employment opportunities.”
Funding will support an initial phase of work to address long term property market failure in Goole town centre, aiming to reduce vacancy and stimulate private sector investment. It will act as seed corn funding to deliver a range of early improvements in the ‘Clock tower’ area in the hope that this will assist in unlocking further investment.
Property owners will be incentivised to improve and reconfigure property within the target conservation area and detailed engagement will be undertaken with owners to ensure that proposed work is suitable and of a quality to contribute to the Goole Town Centre Conservation Area Management and Maintenance Plan (CAMMP).