£56million lifeline for Britain’s high streets: Government unveils fund for council’s to spruce up shopping hubs and hold beer and food festivals while cutting red tape so thousands more pubs can open on April 12
- Up to 9,000 more pubs are expected to open for dine-out customers April 12
- The Government has awarded councils a £56million fund to improve high streets
- Possible schemes could include flower arrangements and graffiti removal
- Communities secretary Robert Jenrick said it was important to back hospitality
The Government has unveiled a £56million fund for council’s to spruce up shopping hubs and hold beer and food festivals.
Up to 9,000 more pubs are expected to be able to open for dine-out customers on April 12 as cuts to red tape will allow businesses to build marquees in gardens and have tables in streets across England.
There will be a particular focus on seaside towns, which will receive £6million of the funding pot.
Councils can use the money to ‘spruce up’ their high streets with flower boxes, improvements to green spaces and the removal of graffiti.
Rogue parking firms will also be tackled to allow shoppers easier access to town centres.
Up to 9,000 more pubs are expected to be able to open for dine-out customers on April 12 as businesses will be allowed build marquees in gardens and have tables in streets across England. Pictured, Eat Out To Help Out in Windsor last year
Cabinet Minister Robert Jenrick told BBC Radio 4: ‘It’s really important that we back hospitality and retail which has had such a difficult 12 months.
‘So we’re cutting red tape so these businesses can do al fresco dining, put marquees in pub gardens and begin to rebuild and prosper.’
James Timpson, CEO of shoe repair chain Timpson, said it would take three years for trading to return to pre-pandemic measures.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I am concerned that some people will not shop in the way that they used to and are quite content with the new way of doing things.
‘We are a business and we need you to walk through our door so we are concerned that in time our footfall may be lower certainly in our city centres.’
From next month pubs will be allowed to erect marquees or other temporary structures in their gardens without planning permission and, in a bolster to business, can keep them up until September rather than a 28-day window.
There will be a particular focus on seaside towns, which will receive £6million of the funding pot, and councils can use the money to ‘spruce up’ their high streets with flower boxes or remove graffiti. Pictured, Darlington high street this month
The marquees will need side panels for ventilation but the usual slog of required paperwork has been cut.
Cabinet Minister Robert Jenrick (pictured) said it was important to ‘back hospitality’
Meanwhile, tables and chairs will be allowed on pavements outside businesses without the need for a time consuming public consultation process.
All pubs and restaurants need to do is notify their council and, if they don’t hear back within ten days, they can use pavements outside their venue for al fresco dining.
England’s ‘stay at home’ message will be removed on March 29, before most restrictions end by June 21 if the number of coronavirus cases continue to fall.
And extra money will be pumped into coastal areas to help them cope with an expected influx of visitors over the summer months.
When lockdown was first eased last year seaside towns faced gridlock, with Bournemouth forced to declare a ‘major incident’ as social distancing was ignored.
When lockdown was first eased last year seaside towns faced gridlock, with Bournemouth (pictured) forced to declare a ‘major incident’ as social distancing was ignored
While £6million will go to coastal areas, the remaining £50million will be handed to town halls to improve green spaces, put on markets and food pop-ups or festivals to encourage people into their high streets.
Emma McClarkin, CEO of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: ‘It’s good news for pubs, as we move towards the outdoor reopening, that rules around outdoor spaces will be more relaxed, particularly given the vagaries of the April weather.
‘We would urge the Government and local councils to work with publicans to ensure as many people as possible are able to return to the Great British pub.’
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