Measures to support a safe and successful reopening of our treasured high streets and seaside resorts ahead of a great summer were announced this week by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick.
As the nation looks forward to life beginning to return to normal, with people making plans for domestic holidays and days out with friends, the Communities Secretary announced a comprehensive package of support to help kickstart local economies and businesses and give people reassurance they can shop and socialise safely.
A new £56 million Welcome Back Fund will help councils 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.
Dorset Council have been awarded over £400,000, and BCP council have been awarded over £416,000.
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
Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:
As we move to the next stage on the roadmap out of lockdown we are all looking forward to being reunited with friends and family outdoors and making a safe and happy return to our favourite shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants. Our Welcome Back Fund gives every city, town and high street support to prepare for a great summer. 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. I’m allowing every pub in the country to erect a marquee in their garden for the whole summer as a one-off power to support our locals.
To make sure that businesses can make the most of the summer, businesses such as pubs and restaurants, including where these premises are in listed buildings, will be allowed to use their land more flexibly to set up marquees and provide more outdoor space for diners as restrictions ease, allowing them to serve more customers and recover from the effects of the pandemic.
They can be kept up for the whole summer rather than the 28 days currently permitted.
Michael Tomlinson said:
"This is great news for our local area, and I know that our local businesses are keen to re-open. Towns like Wimborne did a brilliant job last year with their "welcome back" campaign, and I look forward to our high streets being busy again."