THREE more towns in Cornwall – St Austell, Camborne and Newquay – will be able to bid for money from the ‘Future High Street Fund’ after a government decision to allow more applications from county.

The original fund submission criteria only allowed only one bid from each local authority area.

However, following lobbying from Cornwall Council leader Adam Paynter to treat rural areas fairly in the process, the county will now be able to submit a total of four bids.

Earlier this week, the council confirmed Penzance would be the focus for its bid for a share of the Fund, but will now also be submitted for St Austell, Camborne and Newquay.

Councillor Paynter welcomed the decision by government to allow the council to submit more bids. “This is good news for Cornwall and could provide a much needed boost to local high streets. However, the criteria is still very challenging for a rural area like Cornwall and the timeframes for submission are tight. There are potentially for over 465 bids which could be submitted from towns across the country.”

Cornwall identified Penzance as the focus of their bid after it topped an expression of interest process which was sent out councils.

The Future High Streets Fund is key part of the government’s plan for towns, providing co-funding towards capital projects that transform and regenerate centres through innovative proposals around transport, housing delivery and our public services.

The government’s criteria is focused on clear objectives for high streets that are facing significant challenge.

Councillor Paynter stressed that the fund “is not the only show in town” and said Cornwall Council would continue to support and work with towns across region.

“Town centres are the lifeblood of communities across Cornwall and the council has a track record of working with places to improve local economies,” he said.

“We are working with towns such as Hayle, Redruth, Liskeard and Torpoint on exciting plans for the future.  We have a councillor led scrutiny panel looking at the vitality of towns.  It will make recommendations on how we can tackle the challenges town centres are facing by considering replacing retail with housing, work and leisure space.

“We’ve also invested in place-shaping work to strengthen local economies and communities in Bodmin and Launceston. This is an agenda we are committed to and we will make sure that lessons learned from the High Street Fund and the findings from the scrutiny panel are shared with other communities across Cornwall.”

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