Improvements can be made to local high streets across Chelmsford and Uttlesford to help them safely and successfully open after lockdown thanks to Government funding.
A total of £56 million will be invested through the new Welcome Back Fund to help councils across England boost tourism, improve green spaces and provide more outdoor seating areas, markets and food stall pop-ups – giving people more, safer options to reunite with friends and relatives this Summer.
Conservative MP for the Saffron Walden constituency Kemi Badenoch said she was delighted Chelmsford City Council is getting £159,001 and Uttlesford District Council £80,809. Mrs Badenoch looks forward to seeing how the money will be spent to help attract people back to the high streets post-lockdown.
Councils can use the funding to hold street markets and festivals, boost the look and feel of their high streets, with more seating areas and street planting, and install new signage to help keep people safe as restrictions are lifted.
This is part of a package announced by the Government to attract people back to high streets safely this Summer, including:
- Making it easier for hospitality businesses to operate as takeaways and host markets and stalls.
- Enabling businesses like pubs and restaurants to use their land more flexibly, for example by setting up a marquee or creating new outside space, for the whole summer, so they can serve more customers and recover from the effects of the pandemic.
- Extending pavement licenses for another 12 months, so venues can continue serving customers ‘al fresco’ for longer without red tape.
- Tackling Cowboy private parking firms whose rogue practices can keep visitors away from town.
The Government has supported high street businesses throughout the pandemic with targeted tax cuts, business rates relief and grants as part of an economic package worth £407 billion this year and next; enabled eateries and pubs to keep serving customers as takeaways during lockdown, and is making it easier for disused buildings in town centres to be repurposed to end the scourge of ugly buildings that drive away footfall.
Commenting, Mrs Badenoch said:
“I know how difficult it has been for businesses on our high streets over the last year, and I have and remain determined to secure them all the help they need to recover.
“That is why I am pleased that Chelmsford will receive over £159,000 and Uttlesford over £80,000 as part of the Government’s new Welcome Back Fund, which will help our high streets to reopen safely and successfully this Summer as restrictions lift. This funding builds on the funding Chelmsford City Council and Uttlesford District Council received last June and the work the Chelmsford Saffron Walden BID teams have done.
“It will ensure that highstreets in Chelmsford, Dunmow and Saffron Walden have the support they need as we move into recovery, and build back better from the pandemic and I look forward to returning to our local shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants.”