Update on Shrewsbury and Oswestry Future High Streets Fund bids
In March 2019 Shropshire Council submitted bids on behalf of Shrewsbury and Oswestry to the government’s Future High Street Fund, to access a share of the £675 million that has been allocated to support transformational projects to support towns and high streets.
The 50 areas that will be taken forward to the next stage have now been announced by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Goverment, and neither Shrewsbury nor Oswestry have been shortlisted.
Steve Charmley, Cabinet member for assets, economic growth and regeneration said:
“Earlier this year we submitted what we considered to be very strong bids on behalf of Shrewsbury and Oswestry for round one of the Future High Street Fund.
“Unfortunately neither Shrewsbury or Oswestry have been shortlisted in the 50 areas that have been taken forward to business case stage. Though this is disappointing, it’s not surprising given that the Fund was hugely over-subscribed, and our feeling is that Shrewsbury and Oswestry were considered to already have stronger high streets than those towns that have gone forward, and that we are making good progress at collaborating with partners to tackle the continuing challenges facing our town centres.
“For example, in Shrewsbury we’re working in partnership with Shrewsbury BID and Shrewsbury Town Council on the exciting Shrewsbury Big Town Plan project – and in Oswestry we’re working with Oswestry Town Council and Oswestry BID on the new Future Oswestry Group to help deliver activities and projects that will benefit the town, its residents and its businesses.
“But Shropshire Council is looking at all of our town centres along with town and parish councils and other local partners, including business. We recognise that in the future people will visit their town centre for reasons other than retail. Leisure and culture will be more important. This is why we will continue to invest and encourage others to invest to ensure that Shropshire’s towns remain vibrant and important to life in our communities and our county.
“However, we are in touch with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to find out more about our Future High Street Fund bid, and we plan to apply again when applications for round 2 of the Fund open.”