A MASSIVE boost for the region's high streets has been approved by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) through its brand-new Love our High Streets initiative.

Last week, the West of England Combined Authority Committee agreed to establish a West of England Love our High Streets fund of up to £10m to support high streets across the region.

South Gloucestershire, Bristol and Bath & North East Somerset councils will carry out pilot projects in each of their areas.

Regional mayor Tim Bowles said: "Through Love our High Streets, we’ll work with our councils and communities to embrace the future of our high streets in the digital age, and explore how we can secure funding, expertise and support to revive our town centres.”

Cllr Toby Savage, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, said: “I’m very excited about Love our High Streets as it responds to what our communities have been telling us.”

Dr John Bradford, chief executive of High Tech Bristol and Bath, said: “Across the West of England we have 15 DigiLocal clubs, all hosted by local communities.

"The Makerspace Studio proposed as part of Love our High Streets is a fantastic opportunity to extend the possibilities for young people in our communities to engage with digital technologies in a structured and safe environment.”

WECA will work closely with the authorities to agree detailed plans and outcomes. The pilot projects are expected to lead to a longer-term Love our High Streets project.

The Combined Authority will also explore external funding, and support the councils to bid for a share of the Government’s Future High Streets Fund, as announced in the Budget.