HISTORIC high streets are to undergo a revamp in Reading thanks to an £800k share of government funding to improve sites.

The grant is part of a £95m government scheme for improving historic streets, and Reading Borough Council (RBC) will partner with Historic England to make changes to areas that need it.

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Historic England said there is an "urgent need to dust off and re-use the historic buildings in Reading" to help breathe new life into parts of the town which are deprived.

The website announcing that Reading will receive part of the share reads: "Although often thought of as a very modern town centre, Reading has an incredible depth of history and is home to some wonderful architecture.

"The High Street Heritage Action Zone includes the cross roads that mark the town's earliest streets (around the churchyard of Reading Minster), the market place outside the gates of its Royal Abbey, and the Oxford Road.

"The historic buildings in these areas – ranging from Medieval to Georgian and Victorian – have suffered decline as big retail centres have dominated.

"Local small businesses are finding it difficult to compete. A number of historic buildings are decaying or lying empty and a number of the shop fronts are of poor quality."

The High Street Heritage Action Zone is set to refurbish run down shop fronts and hopes to help improve the layout and design of the areas so that the historic parts are better connected to the modern parts of the town.

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The ambition is to increase footfall and create a more "joined up" community feel.

By unlocking the heritage that is here, Historic England hope to work with partners to boost the economy for residents and business owners.