Giles Watling, MP for Clacton, has welcomed the news that Clacton has been shortlisted to benefit from the £1 billion Future High Streets Fund (FHSF).

As a shortlisted applicant, Tendring District Council will now submit a full business case to the FHSF, and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will announce the list of successful applicants in spring 2020. If successful, Tendring District Council will be eligible for up to £25 million of capital investment to invest in infrastructure, housing and work spaces. These projects will transform our high streets and town centres, which will bring long-term economic benefits. To help Tendring District Council make the case for Clacton, the Government has provided £150,000 to commission expert advice and commit internal resources to the development of the business case.

Last month, the Government set out a detailed plan to create a level playing field for cities, towns, coastal communities, and rural areas across the country. As part of this, £3.6bn of new funding was committed in the Towns Fund, and this included the £1bn FSHF. In addition, the Government have set up the High Streets Task Force, and this will provide hands on support to local areas to: develop data driven, innovative strategies, provide training, and connect local areas to relevant experts.

Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, said:

“Town centres and high streets are at the heart of local communities. As consumer habits change, we know that some are facing challenging times. Our plan to help the high street evolve and thrive involves investing £1 billion in transformative infrastructure, town centre housing, workspaces and culture - as well as cutting business rates for most smaller shops and businesses.

“Clacton has the potential to be front and centre of our approach. Building on its Victoria heritage, its business case aims to develop the town into a thriving hub of activity and improve the culture and skills offer to create a year-round economy for the town.

“It is a great achievement for the authority to have made it into the business case development phase of the FHSF, and its expression of interest document was one of the very best that my department received.”

Giles said:

“Tendring District Council has clearly made an excellent application to the FHSF, and I stand ready to assist in anyway I can during the formulation of this business case.  We are going full out for the £25 million.

“This Government has already invested heavily in Clacton, with funding delivered from the Housing Infrastructure Fund, Start-up Loans Company, Coastal Communities Fund, Coastal Revival Fund, and new Tourism Sector Deal. In the last few months, this has amounted to nearly £400 million in new funding.

“As I have said before, we have real potential in our area, and this high level of funding will help to unlock new opportunities in the Clacton constituency. Therefore, I want to see this trend of positive investment continue, and I will continue to push Ministers on what more they can do to support our area.”