OSWESTRY has what it takes to earn a slice of a £675 million high street rejuvenation fund.

That is the view of town mayor, Councillor Sandy Best, after it was announced that more than 300 local authorities have bid for a share of the government’s Future High Street Fund.

Shropshire Council has put Oswestry and Shrewsbury as its two towns to contend for funding, and Cllr Best was in optimistic mood about the town’s chances.

“I haven’t had any indication to think otherwise. We’re still very confident – we put in a very strong bid because we had some money in place when this came up,” she said.

“Unless someone drops a bombshell on us I really do think we have a very good chance.”

High Streets minister Jake Berry MP welcomed the positive response to the Future High Street Fund as evidence of the appetite across the country to reimagine and reinvent our town centres and high streets.

Launched in December 2018 as part of the government’s Plan for the High Street, the Future High Streets Fund aims help local leaders implement “bold new visions” to transform town centres and make them fit for the future with co-funding to consolidate properties on the high street, improve transport and access into town centres and convert retail units into new homes.

As well as the town council having funds to provide match funding, Cllr Best said that work done alongside Shropshire Council had been “crucial” to the strength of the bid.

“There’s no reason at all not to feel positive at the moment,” she added.

Mr Berry commented: “More than 300 bids to the Future High Street Fund is a fantastic response and shows the passion across the country to meet the challenges facing our high streets head-on.

“The Government has the power to set the direction but those on the ground know best.

“I look forward to reviewing the innovative proposals from local leaders to transform our high streets and town centres and make them fit for the future.

“We’re determined to ensure high streets continue sit at the heart of our communities for generations to come. Our Future High Streets Fund will sit front and centre of our Plan for the High Street as we work to achieve this aim.”

The government is assessing the expressions of interest will make an announcement on places moving forward to phase two in the summer.