HEXHAM’S struggling high street could be line for a major boost.

For Northumberland County Council has applied for funding between £250,000 and £2m from the Historic England High Street Heritage Action Zone to improve the town by refurbishing empty buildings and providing additional cultural activities.

There has been an outcry over the declining state of the high street in recent years, with members of the public angered over the volume of businesses leaving Hexham. If successful in its bid on behalf of the Hexham Hub partnership, made up of the county council, Hexham Town Council and Hexham Community Partnership, the county council would look to improve properties on some of the town’s key streets.

Cath Homer, county councillor for Hexham East and cabinet member for culture, arts and tourism, said: “We are predominantly looking at Priestpopple and Battle Hill as the two areas that have deteriorated most, and there are a number of empty premises in the historic heart of the town.

“Bringing some of the buildings back into use, and perhaps converting them to living use, will breathe new life into the town and that will help improve the cultural and heritage offering of the town. With more people visiting the town, more money will be spent and there’s the opportunity for more shops.

“I welcome this exciting chance to bid for funding, for the residents, businesses and visitors to our town.

“It’s really positive that we are all working together through the Hexham Hub to get behind the huge opportunities that this application presents.”

Nationally, there is £40m available through the heritage action zone fund which is part of the £675m Future High Street Fund released by the Government in December.

Successful applications will fund a four-year programme of high street improvements and additional cultural activities to attract visitors.

County council partners and property owners in Hexham have until July 12 to suggest areas where the money could be spent before the application is submitted for consideration.

Coun. Richard Wearmouth, portfolio holder for economic development at the county council, said: “This is an excellent opportunity to integrate Hexham’s heritage with the overall development of the town, complementing existing work on the development of key sites that the council and others are currently working on to regenerate the town centre.”