Exmouth has been handed the chance to bid for up to £20million as part of the Government’s new Future High Streets Fund.
The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, today (Monday) confirmed the town could receive funding help to bid for a potential seven-figure sum.
He added that Exmouth may be in line to receive up to £150,000 via local authorities to work together on the development of detailed project proposals that can be submitted for capital funding.
The fund can be used to improve transport and access into town centres, convert empty retail units into new homes and workplaces, and to invest in vital infrastructure.
This is in addition to other business support, such as cutting business rates for high street shops and pubs.
Simon Jupp, Conservative parliamentary candidate for East Devon, said: “I have spoken to many businesses in Exmouth about the opportunities for the town and it’s time to work together to boost our High Street.
“I will work with residents, councils and business leaders to make sure we grasp this opportunity to deliver for Exmouth. Together, we can make East Devon an even better place to live and work.”
Mr Jenrick added: “I want Exmouth to benefit from that and be part of the next group of towns to receive up to £20m each.
“Simon and I will be working with the local community to prepare a plan and get that transformative investment flowing into the town as soon as next year.”
East Devon District Council (EDDC) had earlier this year submitted a bid for Axminster as part of the Future High Streets Fund, but the bid was rejected.
At the cabinet meeting where the authority decided to put forward Axminster over Cranbrook, there was no mention of a bid for Exmouth and no councillor spoke in favour of the seaside town.
The news has come as a surprise to EDDC, with several senior councillors saying that nothing has yet been discussed about bidding for funding for Exmouth.
Deputy leader Cllr Susie Bond said: “There has been no communication from Government to the East Devon District Council about the Future High Streets Fund.”
Mr Jenrick said Mr Jupp had lobbied him for the funding over the last few weeks – and secured the agreement last Friday.
A Conservative Party spokesman added: “The decision [to include Exmouth]was made directly by the Secretary of State and confirmed last Friday.
“East Devon District Council will be notified in due course on the mechanics of the process.”
Also standing as parliamentary candidate for East Devon in the general election on Thursday are: Claire Wright (Independent), Henry Gent (Green), Eleanor Rylance (Lib Dem), Dan Wilson (Labour) and Peter Faithfull (Independent).
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