POOLE'S High Street could be set for a new lease of life, thanks to a new government grant.

The town is one of 50 areas across the UK which will receive funding to present a bid to secure a share of the £675 million Future High Streets Fund, which is designed to help local leaders reinvent their town centres.

The FHSF money can be spent on a wide ranging list of things, from improving transport and access into town centres to converting retail units into new homes.

Successful towns including Poole will now receive up to £150,000 of new funding to work up detailed project proposals, based on their initial plans. They will work closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, focussing on those places that have “shovel ready” projects where there might be opportunities to accelerate these.

Cllr Mark Howell, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Culture at BCP Council, said he was delighted their bid had progressed to the next stage to receive up to £150,000 to develop their projects. “A sustainable and thriving High Street is essential for any town," he said."This funding opportunity will benefit Poole’s business community and residents. I’m looking forward to seeing this project develop and contribute to the regeneration of this area of Poole for future generations.”

Dolphin Shopping Centre manager and chairman of Poole Business Improvement District, John Grinnell, said: “We’re looking forward to the positive changes it will bring to our town centre.

“The BID will now work alongside BCP Council to assist with the scoping of the works proposed and ensure that we can receive the best possible outcome for our levy paying businesses, as well as those who live in and visit the area.”

Neither men could say what type of projects they would be looking at to put forward for funding.

The Minister for High Streets, Jake Berry has outlined his hopes for the scheme."High Streets are a crucial part of our local economies and people care about them because they are also the centres of their community," he said.

"But we recognise that changing consumer behaviour and the rise of online shopping presents a significant challenge and that’s why we are taking action to help them evolve."

Once the most popular retail area in Poole, the High Street has fallen victim to recession as well as low-level anti-social behaviour.

Traders have complained that pedestrianisation reduced passing traffic and the shopping centre had shifted the town's centre of retail gravity.

Earlier this year the Bournemouth Echo ran a series of articles about the reasons behind the area's ailing high streets. Local experts blamed a number of factors, the major one being people going from 'bricks to clicks' and buying online.