Oliver has written to Hertsmere Borough Council supporting a bid for new funding through the £675 million Future High Streets Fund recently announced by the Government.
The Fund aims to support local councils’ plans to make their high streets and town centres fit for the future and has now been opened to bids.
Speaking this week Mr Dowden said: ‘High streets and town centres are at the heart of the communities in our area. However, they are under serious pressure from many directions, particularly in Potters Bar.
‘That’s why the Government has launched this new Fund to help regenerate the country’s high streets so they can thrive in the years ahead. This is something I pushed for with my ministerial colleagues and am pleased to see being delivered.
‘Securing this support would make a real difference to struggling high streets in our area and I have used this letter to strongly encourage Hertsmere Borough Council to bid for their fair share.
‘I will also be meeting with the Council’s Planning Department next week to discuss further in person.’
The Future High Streets Fund is one element of a wider package of Government measures to support high streets announced last year. These include:
- Cutting business rates by a third for small companies for two-years from April 2019;
- Reforming planning, including consulting on the ‘change of use’ regime, a further consultation on planning measures and trialling a register of empty commercial properties;
- Supporting local council a new High Streets Task Force, giving councils access to expert advice where needed; and
- Strengthening community assets, restoring historic buildings, supporting community groups to use empty properties, providing a 100 per cent mandatory relief for public lavatories from April 2020 and continuing the £1,500 business rates discount for local newspapers on their office space in 2019-20.