Ramsgate will receive £2,7m from the Government’s Future High Street Fund, it has been confirmed today (May 19).
Ramsgate is one of 72 areas across England that will benefit from the £830 million Future High Streets Fund to improve the high street, as well as protect and create more jobs.
The investment, which is now confirmed, aims to help Ramsgate recover from the pandemic while also driving long term growth making the High Street a place not just to shop but to enjoy as a destination in its own right.
The fund will be used to provide more workspace in the town centre for creative industries, which will bring empty buildings back into use, and to improve the highway, including accessibility from the Harbour into Harbour Street.
Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “This funding is part of wider support we are providing to communities and businesses, to protect jobs, support the most vulnerable and ensure no one is left behind as we recover from pandemic.
“This investment will make a huge difference to towns and cities across England and transform themselves in desired places to shop, visit, live and work.
“The Future High Streets Fund will support towns, communities and businesses as we get back to enjoying the best of what the high street has to offer.”
The Future High Streets Fund was launched in December 2018. Ramsgate was given a provisional allocation last December.
Cllr Rick Everitt, Thanet council Cabinet Member for Ramsgate’s Regeneration, said: “It’s encouraging that our bid for Ramsgate as part of the Future High Street Fund has been confirmed. This will provide a significant boost to the high street at a time that is already very challenging for many of our local businesses.
“The funding has been awarded under a set of very specific criteria, which means it can only be used to support the two submitted projects. The first will provide more workspace in the town centre for creative industries, which will help improve the street scene and bring empty buildings back into use.
“The second is set to improve the highway, including accessibility from the Harbour into Harbour Street. The aim is to try and reduce the dominance of the road, making it easier for people to access the high street. Plans have been developed and will shortly be ready for public consultation, so we’re looking forward to seeing what our residents, specifically within Ramsgate, think of them.
“I realise that local people have many other aspirations for investment in the town and that’s why we’re now launching our Ramsgate Future initiative. I am confident that with everyone working together, Ramsgate’s regeneration will go from strength to strength.”
South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay said:“As pubs, cinemas, bowling alleys and more open up this week, this funding will provide a much-needed boost for Ramsgate as we safely welcome shoppers and tourists back to our high street and town centre.
“I look forward to working with everyone involved with this application to transform Ramsgate into an even more vibrant place to live, work, visit and shop.”
Kent County Councillor Trevor Shonk, also welcomed the news, adding: “Ramsgate deserves all the financial support it can get, so I am more than happy with the announcement from the Government.
“Now we need to ensure this £2.7m is properly spent and as a newly elected County Councillor for Ramsgate, this is something I will be monitoring.”
County Councillor Karen Constantine added: “Given the evident decline of Ramsgate High street, which is in party due to both Covid and the changing way in which we all shop, it’s should be remembered that high streets thrive in areas with good employment opportunities.
“Our local MP has yet to share with residents what he intends to do to bring more, decently paid work into our town. It would also be great to secure a cast iron commitment from both Cllr Shonk and MP Craig Mackinlay to ensure funds are identified to make sure our High street is fully accessible.”