Struggling high streets will be regenerated with £1 billion funding to convert empty shops and improve transport links.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that 50 towns will see improvements to their struggling high streets, including High Street, Wealdstone.

The previously launched Future High Streets Fund will now be expanded to 50 additional towns to improve transport access into town centres, convert empty retail units into new homes and workplaces and invest in vital infrastructure.

Mr Johnson said: “Our high streets are right at the heart of our communities, and I will do everything I can to make sure they remain vibrant places where people want to go, meet and spend their money.

“This scheme is going to reenergise and transform even more of our high streets – helping them to attract new businesses, boost local growth, and create new infrastructure and jobs.”

The Future High Streets Fund was launched in December 2018 to reshape town centres and high streets.

One technique practiced by the scheme is Open Doors, a system piloted in five town centres to transform empty shops into community hubs. Smaller retailers have also seen their bills cut by a third due to a business rates retail discount, worth an estimated £1 billion.

Communities secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “High streets have a crucial role to play as we work to grow the economy of all parts of the country.

“Interest in the Fund has been huge, and with so many strong applications, I am extending the number of towns moving forward to the next phase and getting a chance to develop their proposals.

“The government is going to level-up our regional economies and as communities secretary, I am proud to be driving this agenda forward.”