Southampton’s high street step closer to share of £1bn

Southampton’s high street is in the running for a slice of £1bn of government funding, thanks to GO! Southampton and Southampton City Council.

The Council – with the extensive assistance of GO! Southampton – applied for the government’s new Future High Street Fund and it’s now been confirmed that their bid was successful.

Southampton now joins a list of 99 other towns and cities to now progress forward for a share of the fund, which aims to renew and reshape high streets in a way that drives economic growth and sustainably improves living standards.

The funding could be transformational for the city centre, helping to future-proof it for decades to come and benefitting businesses, visitors and residents.

GO! Southampton Executive Director, Giles Semper, said: “To say that we are over the moon to hear this news would be an understatement. Southampton city centre has the potential to be completely transformed and this funding is a vital first cog in getting the wheels turning.

“We’ll now be working closely with Southampton City Council and the Government’s new High Street Task Force to develop our proposals.”

Councillor Christopher Hammond, Leader of Southampton City Council said: “It’s great to hear the confirmation that Southampton’s Future High Street Funding bid will be going through to the next round.  This bid feeds into our masterplan to grow the city and to bring more opportunity for all those who live here, work here, or visit our great city. We look forward to taking this bid forward with our partners.”

Southampton’s victory in its Future High Street Fund application is even sweeter, as the city was not on the first list of 50 beneficiaries, announced a few weeks ago. However, thanks to new funding being made available, 50 additional towns and cities were announced as progressing to the next stage, with Southampton being one.

The extension to the shortlist comes on the back of the £3.6 billion Towns Fund announced last month, which included an additional £325 million for the Future High Streets Fund, taking the overall Fund to £1 billion as the Government looks to drive forward local growth.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Our high streets are right at the heart of our communities, and I will do everything I can to make sure they remain vibrant places where people want to go, meet and spend their money.

“But with our town centres facing challenges, we’re today expanding the High Streets Fund to support over 100 high streets to regenerate – backed by £1 billion of vital investment.

“This scheme is going to reenergise and transform even more of our high streets – helping them to attract new businesses, boost local growth, and create new infrastructure and jobs.”

As one of the successful candidates, Southampton will now progress to the second phase of the Future High Streets Fund and receive up to £150,000 to support the development of detailed project proposals that can be submitted for capital funding.