Government Funds "Highly Unlikely", but Tenterden Plans High Street Future
8th Feb 2019
Tenterden Town Council is to work on a strategy to help improve the historic High Street, following the disclosure that it is "highly unlikely" that the town will be able to access the Government's £675 million Future High Streets Fund (FHSF).
A presentation by Ashford Borough Councillor Graham Galpin at the Town Hall last week raised the prospect of some of government money being allocated to Tenterden.
However, a subsequent meeting between Ashford Borough Council and Tenterden Town Council revealed that the FHSF prospectus states that "we will not accept bids covering town centre areas that are not facing significant challenges".
With a shop vacancy rate of only 6-7%, well below the national average, Tenterden High Street would not meet the criteria of "significant challenges".
In addition, FHSF funds will only be granted to Borough or District level local authorities, not Town Councils such as Tenterden.
However, Deputy Town Clerk Claire Gilbert said that concrete steps were already being taken to maximise the popularity of Tenterden High Street and nearby shopping areas.
This would include formulating a 'Tenterden Vision Statement', based on the findings of the Destination Management Plan produced last year, which has resulted in the pending appointment of a Town Centre Manager.