IMPROVEMENTS can be made to local high streets across south Shropshire to help them open safely and successfully after lockdown, with help from Government funding.

A total of £56 million will be invested through the new Welcome Back Fund to help councils across England boost tourism, improve green spaces and provide more outdoor seating areas, markets and food stall pop-ups, giving people more, safer options to reunite with friends and relatives this summer.

Ludlow MP, Philip Dunne, said he was pleased Shropshire Council is getting £288,000 and looks forward to seeing how the money will be spent to help attract people back to high streets across south Shropshire post-lockdown.

Councils can use the funding to hold street markets and festivals, boost the look and feel of their high streets, with more seating areas and street planting or less graffiti, and install new signage to help keep people safe as restrictions are lifted.

This is part of a package announced by the Government to attract people back to high streets safely this summer.

Ludlow and Tenbury as well as other marker towns are desperate to be able to recover lost ground following a year of disruption.

The planned reopening comes too late for the Easter Holiday weekend that normally signifies the start of the season.

“I know how difficult it has been for businesses on our high streets over the last year, and I am determined to help them receive as much help as I can to speed their recovery,” said Mr Dunne.

“This will help our high streets gain the support they need as we move into recovery, and build back better from the pandemic.”

But there is concern that people will feel safe to return to the streets in numbers and also that the enforced habit of having to shop more online cannot be reversed.