This page includes a range of frequently asked questions about the Future Highstreets Fund Project in Fenland.
Do you have a question? Get in touch at mwright@Fenland.gov.uk
The government invited bids for Future High Street Funding from unitary authorities, metropolitan districts, London boroughs and, where there is a two-tier system, from district councils, in England. The funding guidance stipulated that the government would only accept bids covering town centre areas facing significant challenges.
Fenland District Council submitted an application for March in 2019. The funding criteria very much matched local Member's aspirations for the town, as well as the emerging Growing Fenland Town Report for March. Being a good fit for the funding March was in a better position to put forward a successful bid.
The funding is an exciting opportunity for March and has the potential to regenerate the High Street for the benefit of all.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities Future High Street Fund call for Projects invited "bids from unitary authorities, metropolitan districts, London boroughs and, where there is a two-tier system, from district councils, in England."
Having been successful in its application for funding, Fenland District Council will now act as the accountable body - this means that we are responsible for the legal and financial management of the funding. We are also responsible for ensuring that the projects are delivered on time and to budget, achieve value for money and meet the requirements of the Future High Street Fund aims and objectives.
Fenland District Council, as the accountable body, holds the responsibility, but to develop and deliver the projects we will collaborate with a range of stakeholders and partners, including; the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Cambridgeshire County Council as well as statutory organisations such as the Environment Agency and Historic England.
The £8.6 million investment in March Town Centre will be funded as follows:
The government requires that the Future High Street Fund money is spent by March 2024, however, work paid for by the other funders could continue after this time period. We are currently in a period of design, site investigation, planning and procurement of contractors for the projects. These processes will take time to ensure the right solutions are chosen and value for money is delivered.
It is likely that work on the first projects will begin in Spring/Summer 2022.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities Future High Street Fund is a £675 million fund to help local areas respond to and adapt to the challenges and changes facing their High Streets. The fund serves two purposes, "it will support local areas to prepare long-term strategies for their high streets and town centres, including funding a new High Streets Taskforce to provide expertise and hands-on support to local areas. It will also then co-fund with local areas projects including:
investment in physical infrastructure, including improving public and other transport access, improving flow and circulation within a town/city centre, congestion-relieving infrastructure, other investment in physical infrastructure needed to support new housing and workspace development and existing local communities, and the regeneration of heritage high streets; and investment in land assembly, including to support the densification of residential and workspace around high streets in place of under-used retail units."
You can find out more on the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government website and the full prospectus for the fund is also available online.
Engaging with the community and stakeholders is an important part of the Future High Street Fund process and we will be regularly updating communities on progress.
Whilst decisions have been made about the projects that funding will be used for, we will be regularly posting news to our Fenland District Council website and continuing to promote the schemes through local press and social media channels.