EMPTY buildings in The Tything and other parts of Worcester could be rejuvenated after the city was shortlisted for a share of a £1billion government fund to transform high streets and shopping areas.

Worcester MP Robin Walker has welcomed the announcement which could mean part of the city centre is revitalised.

The city missed out when the successful Future High Streets (FHS) Fund applicants were first announced, but the government has now confirmed that a further 50 towns and cities will go to the next stage and this time Worcester's proposal for Blackfriars and northern city centre has been selected.

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The money could be used in various ways, such as converting empty shops into homes or offices, or improving transport links.

As a successful FHS Fund candidate, Worcester's application team will now receive up to £150,000 to develop detailed project proposals that can be submitted for capital funding of up to £25million.

Mr Walker said: "The announcement is certainly good news. It fits into my long campaign to support the High Street.

"We do have a good mix of shops in the city, but there are areas on the periphery that need support, like The Tything and Barbourne Road.

"This money can be used to convert empty buildings."

The news follows the announcement earlier this year that the city was successful with another bid from the government's Cultural Development Fund, to turn Worcester's railway arches into a business and arts hub.

Following the FHS announcement, David Blake, managing director of Worcester City Council, tweeted yesterday: "Fantastic news for Worcester on the back of £3m for the Arches project."

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick visited the city to make the FHS Fund announcement outside the Guildhall on Monday morning.

Mr Jenrick said: "High streets have a crucial role to play as we work to grow the economy of all parts of the country.

"Our fund is key to delivering this, empowering local leaders to help transform their high streets and town centres as consumer habits change, by investing in housing, workplaces, infrastructure and culture."

Earlier this year Worcester BID highlighted figures that over the 2018 Christmas period the city bucked the national trend enjoying a 0.3 per cent rise in visitors compared to the previous year.

In comparison, cities across the country saw visitor numbers drop by 3.2 per cent on average last Christmas, the festive period being traditionally the busiest time for High Streets..

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