New High Street Accelerators programme to benefit Blackburn

It’s been announced that ten high streets will take part in a new government pilot – the High Street Accelerators programme – to create partnerships that empower residents and community organisations to work together on long-term regeneration plans.

The funding will help communities partner with local authorities and businesses to address some of the biggest challenges facing their high streets – building on wider action to tackle empty shops, anti-social behaviour and a lack of visitors.

These 10 areas to be called High Street Accelerators will receive an initial £2.37 million to kickstart their partnerships – a total of £237,000 each.

They can also apply for a share of up to £5 million to improve their high streets’ green spaces and create more pleasant environments for residents to meet and socialise.  This £7 million will be spent over the next two years and the impact will be evaluated to inform future government policy and support for left-behind high streets, building on larger interventions like the £1.1 billion Long-Term Plan for Towns.

The High Street Accelerators Pilot Programme was first announced in March 2023 as part of the Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan. It will complement other interventions designed to revive England’s high streets such as the High Streets Task Force which is helping local leaders to regenerate their areas, and changing planning rules so councils have greater certainty.

New regulations to be introduced next year will also give local authorities more powers to work with landlords to rent out vacant properties on high streets. The High Street Rental Auctions regulations will allow councils to sell off the rental rights for empty properties to willing tenants, such as businesses and community groups.

Along with High Street Accelerators, this will incentivise and empower local people to tackle vacant buildings, enabling local communities to reinvent their high streets for the future. Areas receiving funding as part of the High Street Accelerators programme:

  • King William Street in Blackburn Town Centre 
  • Abingdon Street and Queen Street in Blackpool
  • Stoke Town Centre in Stoke-on-Trent
  • Queen Street with Blackburn Road and Church Street in Great Harwood Town Centre in Hyndburn
  • Scunthorpe High Street in North Lincolnshire
  • Union Street and Yorkshire Street in Oldham Town Centre
  • The Stepney area of Beverley Road in Hull
  • Grimsby Town Centre in North East Lincolnshire
  • Dovercourt Town Centre in Tendring
  • Hyde Town Centre in Tameside

Leader of the Council Cllr Phil Riley said “It’s great news that Blackburn with Darwen is one of 10 places chosen by the Government to receive this High Street Accelerator funding.

The government clearly has confidence in our plans for our two town centres.  Our schemes all look to drive more people into our town centres to help support the businesses there, important with the changing consumer habits we have all seen.

This new funding will be used for King William Street and we look forward to working with partners, including Blackburn BID, to ensure the very best outcomes for our residents, businesses and visitors.”

More information can be found here.