Boarded up high streets to get £3m revitalisation
NDotM welcomes the new £3m government fund to help revitalise English high streets hit by the recession. NDotM believes there are several silver linings to the recession cloud, and the creative revitalisation of Britain’s high streets could certainly be one of them.
The fund, announced by the Government last month, will be distributed between some of England’s most run down urban areas. Over 50 local authorities have been provided with funding totalling £50,000 each to help rejuvenate their commercial districts.
The Government hopes to replace boarded-up shops with cultural and social projects such as art galleries or community learning centres.
New Deal of the Mind has long campaigned for greater and more imaginative use of Britain’s empty shop spaces. Thousands of commercial properties currently lie unused and such readily available town centre realty provides a unique opportunity for social regeneration.
So it is good to hear communities secretary John Denham talk so enthusiastically of the Government’s desire to ensure that this opportunity is not missed:
“We know that the downturn has really hurt high streets in areas of high deprivation across England. These grants will help to transform and reopen empty shops as part of our real help to keep town centres vibrant and combat the recession.
“Those councils will now be able to use our funding to come up with their own creative ideas to transform their boarded-up shops into something useful like a learning centre, meeting place for local people or showroom for local artists.
“There is no need to see unused shops on our high streets going to waste, especially when we know that it doesn’t take a lot to turn a vacant shop into something beneficial for the community.”