Humber LEP allocates almost £2m in funding to benefit the region’s high streets
16th July 2019
The Humber Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) Board has approved almost £2m in funding to support the region’s high streets.
The Humber High Street Challenge Fund will see the Humber LEP allocate £1.95m to projects to boost the region’s high streets – funded by the Government’s Local Growth Fund as part of their commitment to the Northern Powerhouse.
The Humber High Street Challenge Fund will encourage private sector landlords and property owners to undertake building and conversion projects that will improve high streets, diversifying the traditional high street offer and bringing unused floor space back into use.
These projects will take place in areas with the most need in all four of the Humber local authority areas, comprising of:
Hull: Whitefriargate in the Old Town
East Riding of Yorkshire: Clock Tower area of Goole
North Lincolnshire Council: Scunthorpe town centre
North East Lincolnshire: Kasbah area of Grimsby.
The project will aim to deliver early improvement works in advance of larger scale investments, including the Government’s Future High Streets Fund. It was recently announced that Hull City Council, who will lead the delivery of this scheme, has been successful in the first stage of bidding for capital investment from the Future High Streets Fund.
The Humber LEP recognises through its proposed Humber Industrial Strategy the importance of supporting places, including high streets, to diversify and adapt for the future. This will enable every part of the Humber to play to its strengths, whilst improving connectivity between places to ensure that everyone has the chance to benefit from the Humber’s increased earning power.
The Humber High Street Challenge fund is just one way the LEP plans continue to build on improved perceptions of the Humber as a place to live, work, learn and invest.
In practical terms, the Fund will support target areas in locations that are already set for regeneration, through measures such as scaling back retail space where appropriate, diversification of the traditional retail-dominated high street, opportunities to convert some retail units to residential use, tailoring development/change of use to the unique nature of each urban space and encouraging innovative proposals to bring vacant spaces back to use.
If funding is approved, it is set to be match-funded by £1.86m in public funding and £2.41m from the private sector – bringing the total available for the region’s high streets to £6,221,010.
The programme could see up to 278 new jobs created, with 6,574 sqm of commercial floorspace brought back into use.
Chair of the Humber LEP, Lord Haskins, said:
“The Humber High Street Challenge Fund has the potential to make a real difference to the region’s high streets.
“Measures such as diversification and repurposing of traditional retail space could breathe new life into our town and city centres, helping the Humber become a more attractive place to live and work.
“I am delighted that the Humber’s Local Growth Fund allocation, which we have secured from Government, could support regeneration of the region’s high streets and have a positive impact for our residents and businesses alike.”
North East Lincolnshire's project
The Kasbah is recognised as the most important, surviving representation of industrial scale fishing trade in England and is a priority project within Grimsby’s Heritage Action Zone. The character of the Kasbah remains under threat through the loss of historic fabric and vacant or poorly maintained land and buildings. Over 70% of the areas building are vacant or ruinous.
Conservation Area funding has already been secured through NELC/Historic England to target and repurpose vacant properties over a five year period. However this Conservation Area funding will only support a small proportion of the area’s 91 buildings and this new funding will be used to extend this, and also enable internal works to be undertaken.
Other areas which could be brought forward if further funding becomes available include Cleethorpes Sea Front and Grimsby Town Centre.
Cllr John Fenty, Cabinet member for regeneration at North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been allocated this funding from the Local Enterprise Partnership. Initially, we’ll be concentrating on an area of Grimsby’s port where we’ve already established a strong partnership to help support external repair work to buildings.
“This funding will enhance that scheme meaning more buildings can be brought back into use, something that will be great for the local community, help improve the look of the Kasbah area and also help people to feel proud of their fishing heritage.”