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Enterprise M3 LEP Announces Funding for Winchester District’s High Street Covid Recovery

Last updated 02 October 2023
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Winchester Town Centre

High streets throughout the Winchester district can look forward to a share of just over £90,000 to help recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

The Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership, which supports business growth in Hampshire and Surrey, has moved quickly to establish a Supporting Town Centres Fund designed to give confidence to shoppers and high street users.

Retail, restaurant and bar users in the Winchester district will see wider streets and an increase in outdoor seating in newly pedestrianised areas in both Winchester city and surrounding market towns, as streets are redesigned to create safe pedestrian spaces and queuing zones. In addition, there will be a renewed focus on active travel by providing safe, sustainable routes within  the city centre and market towns for those who want to walk or cycle.

Within three months in Winchester, the scheme aims to use the city’s new Wifi to support innovative ways to encourage people back to the centre with confidence. This could include an app that would help people visit at less busy times. Additional footfall counters will also be used to identify areas of high numbers of people.

Speaking after the announcement at the LEP’s Annual General Meeting, Dave Axam, the Chair of EnterpriseM3 said:

“I am delighted EM3 is supporting the safe re-opening of two key town centres in our region; it is a testament to what can be done when partners work closely toward a common goal. This scheme is all about rolling out innovative and sustainable projects quickly in order to support town centres which have been suffering throughout this crisis.

The Covid pandemic has made us all re-think how we use town centres and projects such as this, which will inspire confidence in people to get our high streets moving safely again, are crucial to a rapid recovery.”

Cllr Paula Ferguson, Cabinet Lead for Climate Emergency and Local Economy, said:

"We are absolutely delighted to secure this funding from the EM3 LEP which will be used to help our local economy recover now that the restrictions are being eased. We are focused on providing practical ways to encourage people back into the city and the market towns, and this fund will help us to create attractive outdoor seating areas as well as make changes that will help people to move around more easily and more safely.”

Enterprise M3 has contributed £93,000 toward a total project cost of £242,000 in Winchester. The Supporting Town Centres Fund is a £500,000 fund utilising unallocated Local Growth Funding from central Government to identify and fund projects which can be delivered quickly to keep people safe as restrictions are eased around the region. The district of Spelthorne in Surrey will also receive funding.



The Supporting Town Centres Fund was announced by the EM3 LEP on 26th May 2020 as a rapid response to the Covid19 emergency.

The scheme is aimed at funding pilot projects that can be delivered quickly and keep people safe as restrictions begin to ease in areas high streets, commercial centres and transport hubs.

More information on the detail of the fund can be found here.


EM3 is business-led and brings together the private, public and not-for-profit sectors in a joint endeavour to drive prosperity for the people and places in our region.

As a Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), we receive funds from government and leverage additional private sector investment in order to make strategic investments to create, nurture and sustain the right conditions for economic growth in our area.

More information on EM3 can be found at:

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For further information relating to this press release or about EM3, please contact EM3 Communications Manager Ryan Sutton 



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From 1 April 2024, the responsibility for LEP functions across the Enterprise M3 LEP region has transferred to Hampshire County Council and Surrey County Council.

The Enterprise M3 Board met for the last time in March 2024 and Enterprise M3 LEP is no longer operating as an organisation.

For any enquiries relating to economic development across the counties of Hampshire and Surrey, please visit the Hampshire County Council website and Business Surrey respectively.

Please note that Enterprise M3 LEP staff have transferred to Hampshire County Council to continue to deliver services and activities in Hampshire, including the Growth Hub, the Careers Hub, work on key business sectors, and trade and investment.  
They can be contacted at

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