THIS week the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government announced that it was releasing £675 million for a '“Future High Streets Fund', out of which individual areas such as Kendal could bid for a stake of up to £25 million.

The objectives are to promote 'investment in physical infrastructure, including improving public and other transport access, improving flow and circulation within a town/city centre, congestion-relieving infrastructure, other investment in physical infrastructure needed to support new housing and workspace development and existing local communities, and the regeneration of heritage high streets'.

The documentation also states: “We want to encourage vibrant town centres where people live, shop, use services and spend their leisure time. The Future High Streets Fund will support and fund local areas’ plans to make their high streets and town centres fit for the future.”

With opportunities such as this I feel all ideas should be considered especially as regeneration to the tune of £25 million would affect the town centre well into the foreseeable future.

Personally, I would like to see a feasibility study to assess the practicalities of having battery-driven trams to transport people to and along our high street. These could run in a loop from K village, along the high street, on to Sandes Avenue then back alongside the river.

Trams could run on this route both clockwise and anticlockwise, with many pick up and drop off points en route. The route next to the River Kent is particularly pleasant and an asset the town barely promotes and tourists rarely visit.

Cars could be parked at K Village, which at present is underused as it is too far to walk from there on to the high street for many people especially in the rain.

Another car park could be built on the land which at present is the town's recycling centre at Canal Head. This is prime land that is quite close to the town centre but an uncomfortable walk for most especially with heavy shopping bags.

It seems nonsensical to have this as a place for recycling as 99.9 per cent of people who use it drive there in a vehicle so it may as well be in a location on the outskirts of town, thus freeing up this area for something more productive. If this area was a car park then naturally the electric tram would have it as one of its stops.

As someone who uses and enjoys the history, atmosphere and community of Kendal's high street I hope councillors and officers will make a thorough and transparent consultation across all sectors in order to make a strong bid for this money ensuring that is sympathetic to the town's needs.

Should Kendal's high street 'die' and fall by the wayside in the future then it could be because that this opportunity was missed.

Phil Eccles

Beck Head