Giles Watling, MP for Clacton, has welcomed additional funding worth £196,110 for Tendring District Council, which will be invested in improvements on local high streets to help them safely and successfully open after lockdown.
A total of £56 million will be invested through the new Welcome Back Fund to help councils across England boost tourism, improve green spaces and provide more outdoor seating areas, markets and food stall pop-ups – giving people more, safer options to reunite with friends and relatives this Summer.
Councils can use the funding to hold street markets and festivals, boost the look and feel of their high streets, with more seating areas and street planting or less graffiti, and install new signage to help keep people safe as restrictions are lifted. Additional funding has also been made available to support coastal areas, so coastal resorts across England can safely welcome holiday makers in the coming months.
This is part of a package announced by the Conservative Government to attract people back to high streets safely this Summer, including:
- Making it easier for hospitality businesses to operate as takeaways and host markets and stalls.
- Enabling businesses like pubs and restaurants to use their land more flexibly, for example by setting up a marquee or creating new outside space, for the whole summer, so they can serve more customers and recover from the effects of the pandemic.
- Extending pavement licenses for another 12 months, so venues can continue serving customers ‘al fresco’ for longer without red tape.
- Tackling Cowboy private parking firms whose rogue practices can keep visitors away from town.
Tendring is also one of seventy councils across England that will benefit from additional hands on support through the new High Streets Taskforce, a group of elite high streets experts who will visit the area to provide advice on how to make changes to ensure high streets across the Clacton constituency adapt to changing consumer demands and thrive in the years ahead.
The Conservative Government has provided billions of investment through the £3.6 billion Towns Fund and £1 billion Future High Streets Fund to regenerate town centres and spruce up high streets, and recently announced a new £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund which will give every council in the UK access to up to £20 million to make their area a more attractive place to visit.
It has also supported high street businesses throughout the pandemic with targeted tax cuts, business rates relief and grants as part of an economic package worth £407 billion this year and next; enabled eateries and pubs to keep serving customers as takeaways during lockdown, and is making it easier for disused buildings in town centres to be repurposed to end the scourge of ugly buildings that drive away footfall.
Commenting, Giles said:
“I know how difficult it has been for businesses on our high streets over the last year. Their struggles were illustrated clearly in the results of my Covid Recovery Survey which closed at the beginning of the month. I am determined to secure them all the help they need to recover. To this end on the 25th March I asked a question of the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Michael Gove. I wanted reassurance that the current levelling up process wouldn’t ignore Clacton. I got that reassurance on the floor of the house.
“That is why I am delighted that our area will receive £196,110 as part of the Government’s new Welcome Back Fund, which will help our high streets to reopen safely and successfully this Summer as restrictions lift.
“This will ensure that our high streets have the support they need as we move into recovery, and build back better from the pandemic. Moreover, many of the additional measures announced by the Government will directly support the predominant types of business in our area – hospitality and retail – and I look forward to seeing the benefits.”
Commenting, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said:
“As we move to the next stage on the roadmap out of lockdown we are all looking forward to being reunited with friends and family outdoors and making a safe and happy return to our favourite shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants.
“Our Welcome Back Fund gives every city, town and high street support to prepare for a great summer. This funding will help councils and businesses to welcome shoppers, diners and tourists back safely.
“As soon as the roadmap allows, we need to get behind our local businesses and enjoy all that this country has to offer and that we’ve been missing so much.
“I’m allowing every pub in the country to erect a marquee in their garden for the whole summer as a one-off power to support our locals.”