Future High Streets Fund
On 26 December 2018 MHCLG issued guidance on a Future High Streets Fund and invited local authorities to submit an expression of interest for funding for one of their town centres or high streets by 22 March. In February further supplementary guidance was issued indicating that, contrary to the initial indication, Councils would be able to submit up to three expressions of interest for individual town centres or high streets within the borough.
In response to the MHCLG announcement, we commissioned an expert consultant team to undertake an independent objective assessment of towns in the borough, and to advise, having regard to the fund criteria, which town centre(s) should be the subject of any expressions of interest.
The consultant’s report, Cushman and Wakefield Future High Street Fund Report (PDF, 231KB), recommended that that the strongest bids could be made for Crewe and Macclesfield, the boroughs two principal towns, and that expressions of interest should be submitted for both these centres.
Furthermore, although the supplementary guidance identified that the we could submit up to three bids, the consultants recommended that three bids were not submitted during this first bidding round. Whilst they identified other centres which could be next priority towns, they state that there is no strong justification to single one out. In addition, they identified that submitting a third expression of interest could undermine the strength of the cases for Crewe and Macclesfield.
The consultant’s recommendations were agreed by the Portfolio Holder for Housing, Planning and Regeneration and the Executive Director for Place.
We have developed expressions of interest for both Crewe and Macclesfield for submission to MHCLG .
It is noted that a second round of applications will be invited next year when other towns will be given further consideration.
Historic England are now inviting Expressions of Interest in the High Streets Heritage Action Zones scheme. There are strict criteria for this fund, the main one being that the scheme needs to be in a conservation area in a town centre.
With this in mind, we again commissioned an expert consultant team to undertake a further independent assessment of towns in the borough and to recommend which town centre should be the subject of any expressions of interest.
The consultant’s report, HSHAZ Centres review (PDF, 4.2MB) recommended that Macclesfield performs best against the criteria.
We are therefore now developing an Expression of Interest for Macclesfield for submission to Historic England.