The government has announced a new £56m investment into UK high streets and seaside towns to ensure a “successful reopening” of the sector this summer.
The ‘Welcome Back Fund’ aims to help councils improve the “look and feel” of local high streets, by investing in street planting, parks, green spaces and seating areas.
The funding will also help councils prepare for the “safe return of shoppers and tourists”, allowing them to employ extra staff to keep street festivals and events covid secure.
In addition, pub and restaurant owners will be allowed to use their “land more flexibly” – with officials also announcing that they can erect marquees in their garden for the whole summer – as opposed to 28 days which was previously permitted.
Part of this funding will be allocated specifically to support coastal areas, with funding going to all coastal resorts across England to “safely welcome holiday makers in the coming months”.
It comes as 21 June remains the predicted date for when all lockdown restrictions will be lifted in England. Robert Jenrick, communities secretary for the UK government, said that the investment “gives every city, town and high street support to prepare for a great summer”.
He said: “This funding will help councils and businesses to welcome shoppers, diners and tourists back safely. As soon as the roadmap allows, we need to get behind our local businesses and enjoy all that this country has to offer and that we’ve been missing so much.”