Future of High Streets

25 July 2021

High Wycombe may provide glimpse of the future

High Wycombe is one 72 towns in the country to be awarded funding from the Government’s Future High Streets Fund (FHSF); for High Wycombe this is £15M over 3 Years

The fund will help improve perceptions of the town and revitalise its older areas:

  • improving the town’s Southern and Western ‘Gateways’ including maintaining frontages and aiding the downsizing retail floorspace with potential alternative use development.
  • re-purposing vacant shops by acquiring and refurbishing them and making them available to independent businesses at affordable rents
  • making better use of the under-utilised historic building under-croft space at the Grade II listed Little Market House (known locally as the Pepperpot Building) and the Guildhall in High Wycombe High Street.

Complements other initiatives

The funding complements a ‘Retail Recycling Units Fund’ (RRUF) scheme; where the then local council purchased strategic retail properties then redeveloped and successfully remarketed them in a way which helped to shape the character and offering in the town centre.

Buckinghamshire Council (note Buckinghamshire County Council has recently become a unitary authority) will extend this work with RRUF 2. This could include strategic property acquisitions in Church Street and High Street to change vacant retail properties into food and beverage businesses, experience-based uses and, if necessary, other uses that will support the town’s Covid-19 recovery.

The overall result will be to rebalance the town centre by reducing the number of former outdated retail units and opening them up to alternative users that are complementary to, but not in competition with, the significant mainstream retail offering available in the Eden Shopping Centre.

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