Gosport MP, Caroline Dinenage, has commended a new £56 million Welcome Back Fund for local councils announced over the weekend.
The funding will support Gosport and Fareham Borough Councils as they prepare the highstreets, seaside areas and public spaces for the return of customers and visitors. This is on top of the combined £178,401 they received through the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund announced last year.
The money can be used on anything from providing more outdoor seating to improving green spaces and public parks. In addition, it can be spent on removing graffiti and helping the High Street look its best for visitors.
“I know that our local businesses owners, pubs and attractions are itching to reopen their doors after an incredibly tough year.
“That is why I am particularly pleased that local councils will receive further funding to help ensure that we can start lifting restrictions while keeping our community safe.”
In addition, it will be easier for pubs and restaurants to expand their outdoor seating, including if they are a listed building. Rules have been relaxed so that there is more flexibility to set up marquees and introduce additional capacity. This will cover the entire summer, instead of just 28 days as currently permitted.
Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:
“As we move to the next stage on the roadmap out of lockdown we are all looking forward to being reunited with friends and family outdoors and making a safe and happy return to our favourite shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants.
“Our Welcome Back Fund gives every city, town and high street support to prepare for a great summer. This funding will help councils and businesses to welcome shoppers, diners and tourists back safely.
“As soon as the roadmap allows, we need to get behind our local businesses and enjoy all that this country has to offer and that we’ve been missing so much.
“I’m allowing every pub in the country to erect a marquee in their garden for the whole summer as a one-off power to support our locals.”