I'm delighted to be able to let you all know we have today launched our High Streets Strategy. We've got some fabulous High Streets in East Grinstead, Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill and Lindfield (and beyond) - and this will come as a real boost to high streets like ours which have been sadly hit hard by the pandemic.
This Strategy sets out how town centres will be transformed into vibrant places to live, work and visit as we build back better from the pandemic. The regeneration of the high street is a key part of the Government's plan to 'level up' the whole country - and this forms a key part of this challenges.
This Strategy is focused on supporting our high streets' recovery - turning vacant property into space for new businesses; planting millions of trees; tackling graffiti; and creating cleaner streets.
Al fresco dining will become the norm, with pavement licences to be extended and then made permanent, making it easier and cheaper for pubs, restaurants and cafes to set up tables outside and serve more customers.
Takeaway pints will continue for another 12 months as the temporary permissions for off-sales of alcohol are extended in England and Wales. This will give a further boost to the hospitality industry as local residents enjoy a great British summer together outdoors.
The government will also launch a war on graffiti and litter. £10m will be invested in removing chewing gum litter and gum stains from our high streets, with money raised directly from producers as part of efforts to get them to take more responsibility for gum litter. Planning rules will be reviewed so that new fast food outlets have to clean up litter they generate. And government will encourage councils to take a more hands-on approach to cleaning up graffiti, supported by a £2m graffiti war chest, with offenders now doing high visibility clean-up of graffiti, litter and fly-tipping.
Additionally, the Government are also launching our £150 million Community Ownership Fund, helping local groups take over pubs, theatres, shops and sports clubs at risk of closure without community intervention
Finally, there will be a UK-wide National High Streets Day where local communities across the UK come together to clean up and celebrate their high street, driving footfall and spend. This will take place when Covid-19 restrictions allow.