Helping high streets reopen

“Any help to attract people back will no doubt be welcome.”

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There are quite a few links on the VGS website to government initiatives and regulations:

Some legislation of importance to Sidmouth – Vision Group for Sidmouth

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The latest initiative to come out of central government seems very relevant to Sidmouth:.

How straightforward it will be for councils to apply is the question:

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New raft of measures to prepare our high streets and seaside resorts for summer

Measures to support a safe and successful reopening of our treasured high streets and seaside resorts ahead of a great summer were announced today by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick.

• £56 million Welcome Back Fund to help boost the look and feel of high streets and seaside towns

• Funding will help councils prepare for the safe return of shoppers and tourists, including employing extra staff to keep festivals and events covid secure

• Pubs, restaurants and listed buildings given more flexibility to use their land to help more people meet up and enjoy themselves, including erecting marquees in pub gardens for the whole summer

The funding can also be used by councils to:

  • Boost the look and feel of their high streets by investing in street planting, parks, green spaces and seating areas to make high streets as beautiful and welcoming as possible
  • Run publicity campaigns and prepare to hold events like street markets and festivals to support local businesses
  • Install signage and floor markings to encourage social distancing and safety
  • Improve high streets and town centres by planting flowers or removing graffiti

New raft of measures to prepare our high streets and seaside resorts for summer – GOV.UK

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With some analysis from the BBC today:

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Sidmouth High Street with bunting and flags

Covid: Plan unveiled to ‘spruce up’ coastal areas and high streets

The struggles of the hospitality sector amid multiple lockdowns have been well documented. And the independent retailers’ trade body Bira says the past 12 months have been the worst of its members’ lives – with crucial in-person Easter and pre-Christmas trade lost.

Once non-essential shops can open again, from 12 April in England, any help to attract people back will no doubt be welcome. Businesses will want to make the most of pent-up demand in a safe way.

The same goes for hospitality. While social distancing will still be in place at least to start with, maximising outdoor space will be crucial for venues which have it – especially during the first phase of their reopening when only outdoor service will be permitted.

Packages like these for high streets and towns won’t fix the long-term challenges facing town centres: shoppers going online, leaving big high street stores increasingly empty. Some customers have grown so used to internet shopping during a year of lockdowns that the habit will stick.

The hope will be, however, to make this a summer to remember after a winter to forget.

Covid: Plan unveiled to ‘spruce up’ coastal areas and high streets – BBC News

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And more media coverage:

High streets and coastal towns to get £56m boost ahead of restrictions easing | ITV News

‘Welcome back’ fund for high streets and coastal towns | East Anglian Daily Times

High streets and seaside towns to get £56m boost ahead of summer – BelfastTelegraph.co.uk

   
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