Back with a bang – create a safe and welcoming town centre with Broxap
A £56 million Welcome Back Fund has been announced to boost the look and feel of tourist towns and high streets. Aimed at attracting people back to events and festivals post-pandemic, the fund supports council tourism plans, green space improvements and market and seating area investments. With international travel still under review, measures to enable safe shopping and socialising as part of a UK staycation is high on the Government’s list of priorities. At Broxap we believe our town centres and coastal attractions can be sustainable by improving the visitor experience with high quality public spaces. In fact we have developed a range of street furniture products which go hand in hand with enabling the likes of outdoor art installations and events programmes. We believe our range can be instrumental in linking together a number of new and different uses for our high streets in a fresh approach to public realm design.
is the Welcome Back fund?
As lockdown restrictions start to ease, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced a comprehensive package of support to kickstart local economies and businesses and protect visitors and shoppers. European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) has been used to support the Welcome Back Fund. The funding can be used by councils to:
Boost the look and feel of their high streets by investing in street planting, parks, green spaces and seating areas to make high streets as beautiful and welcoming as possible
Run publicity campaigns and prepare to hold events like street markets and festivals to support local businesses
Install signage and floor markings to encourage social distancing and safety
Improve high streets and town centres by planting flowers or removing graffiti.
Part of the funding is specifically targeted at coastal areas to safely welcome back holidaymakers this summer. The Government’s High Streets Task Force will also be providing practical, hands-on advice to help locations adapt to the changing purpose of town centres as visitors move away from traditional retail to experience-led trips.
Using the public realm to save the high street
Places come in different shapes and sizes and retaining the unique identities of every location we work in is very important to Broxap. That’s why so many of our products can be customised or built to bespoke requirements. We believe town centres can be future-proofed if they complement the large retail and leisure parks, which are usually situated on the far-flung fringes of traditional high streets, by offering a different experience. Town centres not only provide shopping, entertainment, parking and dining like the retail parks do; they are built to offer places to gather outdoors. They offer opportunities to learn through the likes of libraries and theatres; places to live; routes to cycle; parks to play in.
They are inherently designed to bring people together for a greater range of reasons for longer periods of time.
So if the new role of our town centres and seaside resorts is as a civic hub, the public realm must be designed to serve each of these needs, not just retail. The high street is the foundation stone to creating a vibrant community.
Broxap and the Welcome Back Fund
The Welcome Back Fund is a fantastic opportunity to invest in intelligent improvements that will deliver long-term benefits and fulfil high street potential. Now in our 75th year of business, Broxap is an experienced partner to local authorities, architects and town councils and works to strong placemaking principles. Our holistic approach is perfect for enabling a multi-layered use of town centres and resorts. For example our parklets are very simple installations which combine everything from dining and seating areas to cycle parking, planters and even shelter from the weather. Pedestrian areas can be revamped to encourage greater social distancing through the clever use of bollards, signage and positioning of litter and recycling bins. Our picnic benches go so much further than a simple wooden A-frame (although we build these too) to create a real sense of occasion – brilliant for food festivals and markets. And our canopy structures, manufactured in-house at our UK fabrication plant, provide a focal point for outdoor performances and arts events. At Broxap we are dedicated to maximising every vision for individual high streets, town centres and coastal resorts for a long lasting impact. Get in touch with us today.