It’s great news at last for lots of our country’s beleaguered high streets as the government has revealed the ones - 69 of them across England - which will benefit from a £95m fund to revive historic shopping areas.
Best news of all is that Gosport will be one of the lucky recipients of the funding boost which comes as part of the High Streets Heritage Action Zone initiative - Gosport became a Heritage Action Zone in June this year.
While the exact amount being allocated to Gosport is currently unknown, hopes are high that this money will protect the high street’s future.
In the past 12 months, both McDonald’s and Dorothy Perkins have moved out of the high street, although a Travelodge is being built.
And who can fail to notice the swathes of empty business premises throughout our city? We often bring you stories of ‘this and that’ closing down because of falling footfall so it is genuinely pleasing to learn our neighbours across the harbour will be getting help to at least stem the flow of retail decline.
What causes a slump in the first place? It’s all too easy to point the finger of blame at the modern-day propensity for online shopping but things in that direction will never change because of often very competitive pricing, good bargains and convenient ‘when you’re at home’ delivery slots.
It’s here to stay. However, our high streets definitely need some TLC and this share of the cash, even though the exact amount of the Gosport kitty is unknown as yet, will undoubtedly help bring a welcome dose of pzazz to the town.
Among the principles of the project is that: ‘Disused or underused buildings will be transformed into creative spaces, offices, shops and housing. This revival will become the catalyst for wider regeneration, with heritage and local character at its heart.’
Bring it on...