ST HELENS has failed in a bid for a slice of the government’s £675 million fund to revitalise the nation’s high streets.

The government launched the Future High Streets Fund in late 2018 in an effort to help councils turn fading high streets into “modern vibrant community hubs”.

Bids were subsequently submitted by St Helens Council for St Helens and Earlestown.

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However, the shortlist for phase two of the bidding process has now been revealed, and neither bid made the cut.

The 51 shortlisted areas include the North West towns of Wigan, Crewe, Winsford, Oldham and Stockport.

The finalists will now receive up to £150,000 of new funding to work up detailed project proposals, based on their initial plans.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will work closely with the winners, focusing on those places that have “shovel ready” projects where there might be opportunities to accelerate these.

Prime Minister Theresa May said the funding will “breathe new life into town centres”.

High Streets Minister Jake Berry MP said: “High streets are a crucial part of our local economies and people care about them because they are also the centres of their community.

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“But we recognise that changing consumer behaviour and the rise of online shopping presents a significant challenge and that’s why we are taking action to help them evolve.

“Many of our high streets are successfully re-inventing themselves and with these new plans now in development, local leaders, who know their areas best, will be driving forward the transformation of their town centres into further great success stories.”

St Helens Council has been approached for comment.

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