Sunderland city centre in line for £25million improvements cash from Future High Streets Fund
High Street could be in line for up to £25million of improvements after making the Future High Streets Fund (FHSF) shortlist.
Sunderland is one 51 UK towns and cities, whittled down from 300, to reach the second phase of the Government-led initiative.
Council officers submitted their bid for up to £25m of a £675m pot in the spring.
Sunderland must now say exactly what it would do the money, which is set aside to improve buildings. This will then be considered by the FHSH.
Each of the 51 towns and cities will now receive up to £150,000 to deliver their proposals. It is expected that Sunderland’s plans would include improvements to the railway station.
Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, is happy with the news.
He said: “This announcement is another huge step forward in delivering our vision of a vibrant, dynamic city centre. This is a hugely competitive process, and we have done a fantastic job in moving to the next stage with our bid.
“I am determined that we develop an undeniable business case to ensure that Sunderland benefits from the FHSF, and uses it to deliver yet-more positive change in the city centre.
“There is a palpable sense of momentum now. We mean it when we say that we will transform the city centre for everyone, and this funding could really support this process. We’re working hard to make sure Sunderland sees the benefit.
“Sunderland is on an upward trajectory and the city centre is at the heart of this change.
“We’re making decisions that are stimulating market confidence; like our move to the Vaux site, which is a very important statement of confidence in our city centre vision and it’s paying dividends, with some really positive announcements already made and more to follow.”
The fund was set up in December 2018 to regenerate local high streets.
Prime Minister Theresa May said: “The funding will breathe new life into town centres and – together with measures such as small business rate cuts and opening up empty shops – will transform our high streets for the future.”