Hastings to benefit from share of £95 million high street investment

Hastings town centre
Hastings town centre

Hastings has been chosen as one of 69 high streets in England to be revitalised by a £95 million cash injection.

The initiative aims to run projects across the country which will transform disused historic buildings into shops, houses and community centres.

The amount Hastings will receive has not been announced but London and the South East will receive £14.3 million. This will be shared between Chatham Intra, Croydon, Gosport, Harlesden, Hastings, Newport, Ramsgate, Reading, Ryde, Tottenham, Tower Hamlets and Woolwich.

Towns and cities had to bid for the £95m funding, which was first announced in May.

The initiative will be funded by combining £40 million from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport’s Heritage High Street Fund with £52 million from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Street Fund.

A further £3 million will be provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support a cultural programme to engage people in the life and history of their high streets.

The investment builds on the Heritage Action Zones programme, run by Historic England, and will turn empty and underused buildings into creative spaces, offices, retail outlets and housing to support wider regeneration in the 69 successful areas by attracting future commercial investment.

Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan said: “Our nation’s heritage is one of our great calling cards to the world, attracting millions of visitors to beautiful historic buildings that sit at the heart of our communities.

“It is right that we ensure these buildings are preserved for future generations but it is important that we make them work for the modern world.

“This £95 million will help breathe new life into high streets all over England, benefiting businesses, supporting our much-loved buildings and helping to make our communities more attractive places to live, work and visit.”

The funding will be used for a variety of projects, including: to complete essential repair works in historic buildings and reveal hidden and forgotten features of buildings by restoring shop-fronts and facades; stimulate commercial investment in high streets by demonstrating how historic sites can be successfully repurposed; develop education projects and bespoke events to help reposition historic buildings as community hubs at the heart of local towns and villages; and help address the UK-wide skills shortage of heritage professionals in expert fields like stonemasonry and conservation by providing local property owners, residents and businesses with the opportunity to train in these areas.

Communities Secretary of State Robert Jenrick said: “I want to make sure the nation’s high streets continue to be at the heart of local communities.

“Today’s funding, part of the £3.6 billion we have committed to helping towns across the country, will revitalise much-loved historic buildings, helping to reverse the decline of our town centres. Ensuring that prosperity and opportunities are available to everyone in this country, not just those in our biggest cities, is a priority of this Government in our mission to ‘level up’ the regions.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, added: “We are doubling funding to nearly £100 million to revitalise our heritage high streets, ensuring they remain at the heart of our communities for years to come.
“This will help places across the country – from South Norwood to Scarborough – protect their treasured historic buildings and support local economies to thrive.”