'˜We should decide how the cash is spent'

A COUNCILLOR has welcomed the news councils across England can apply for a share of the government's Future High Streets Fund '“ but hopes there will be flexibility in how the cash is spent in Portsmouth.

Cllr Ben Dowling, cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic development at Portsmouth City Council, said the £675m funding announcement comes at a critical time for the high street, but solutions to problems in the city may be different to other areas.

The fund aims to rejuvenate high streets in the UK. Cllr Dowling said: '˜We welcome the news but hope the government will give us sufficient flexibility to decide how the cash is spent in Portsmouth.

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'˜We agree more emphasis needs to be made on making our shopping centres into community hubs. The launch of Southsea Library in a Woolworths store in 2011 is a great example of how this approach can help to rejuvenate a shopping area. We'll be putting a bid together for the fund.'