It has been officially confirmed that Kirkham is to receive a £6.3m grant from the Government’s Future High Street Fund. The funding will now be used to purchase and breathe new life into several key properties in the town centre – together with a range of improvements to public spaces. This grant means it is all systems go for the Kirkham Futures masterplan.
This four-year plan, led by Fylde Council’s regeneration team in partnership with Lancashire County Council and Kirkham Town Council, includes:
- Developing a new Heritage and Eco Skills Centre in the former Hillside restaurant
- Creation of an Arts Centre and Community Cinema in the former TSB bank
- The purchase of the Kirkgate Centre allowing for the development of key empty shop units and the creation of new affordable town centre housing
- The restoration and improvement of traditional shop fronts and homes within Kirkham’s Conservation Area
- The enhancement of public realm and outdoor spaces
- Encouraging businesses to relocate/set up in the town centre
- Development of new restaurants and creation of a thriving and diverse night-time economy
- Creation of a wide range of cultural and leisure activities
Fylde MP Mark Menzies, who met with ministers throughout the process to make the case for Kirkham’s bid, said: ‘This is a once-in-a-generation investment in our town, and I am delighted to see the Government confirm the funding for Kirkham. The schemes being brought forward, following great work by Fylde Council, Kirkham Town Council and traders, will help revitalise the town centre. I was delighted to highlight the bid with ministers. Congratulations to all involved. I am already aware of several new businesses enquiring about premises in the knowledge we are investing in the town centre – better times are most definitely ahead for Kirkham.’
Kirkham has also been awarded an £80,000 grant from Historic England to create and deliver community-led cultural activities on the high street over the next three years. This grant will enable the town’s Cultural Consortium to deliver:
- A programme of creative art-based commissions – each inspired by Kirkham’s richly diverse heritage
- The creation of an interactive heritage trail focusing on listed buildings and historic local stories
- A series of town centre murals that will animate and illuminate Kirkham’s industrial past
- The development of an annual heritage event, with imaginative displays, which will provide visitors with the opportunity to travel back in time, while sampling delicious local food and drink
- The set-up of a shop, situated on Poulton Street, which will become the base for ‘Artists in Residence’ – showcasing artwork created by both artists and individuals who take part in a series of activities.
- It is hoped the programme of events and initiatives will not only inspire local creativity but improve health and wellbeing through increased community and social engagement.