Scarborough could receive £20m of funding to invest in “local people’s priorities” by 2034 as part of a plan to revive high streets.

A plan promising £20m for Scarborough over the next ten years has been announced by prime minister Rishi Sunak as part of a project to “regenerate local high streets and town centres”.

More than £1bn could be handed out to Scarborough and 54 other “left-behind towns”.

The plan also proposes creating “powers to unlock more private sector investment by auctioning empty high street shops, reforming licensing rules on shops and restaurants, and supporting more housing in town centres”.

The Government has said that local boards made up of community groups, MPs, businesses, and cultural and sports organisations should decide on the long-term future of their areas and how the money could be spent.

Sir Robert Goodwill, the MP for Scarborough and Whitby, welcomed the decision as “great news” and said it would “make a real difference”.

The Conservative member of parliament said: “Particularly coming on top of the existing Towns Deal money that is already delivering projects in Scarborough like the West Pier, this shows a real long-term commitment to levelling up the North and coastal towns in particular.

“What is particularly notable about this money is that this isn’t about having to bid in a competitive process where we could be unsuccessful but this is guaranteed funding of around £1m per year for us to decide the priorities.”

Sir Robert added: “The challenge now is for us to identify where this money can be spent to best effect.”

Earlier this year it was announced that Scarborough had missed out on £20m of Levelling Up Funding which put the future of several projects including the Station Gateway and Fablab+ town centre initiatives in jeopardy.

The new proposal seeks to put “local people, not Whitehall-based politicians” in charge but would also see the creation of a new Government taskforce to “help town boards develop their plans” whilst also reporting directly to the PM.

In a video posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, Roberto Weeden-Sanz

the local Conservative Party candidate at the next general election, said: “We are going to reinvigorate the town centre of Scarborough and help us fulfil the full potential of the town.”

Appearing with him in the video at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, the levelling up secretary Michael Gove, said: “North Yorkshire needs the investment in its high streets, this £20m is levelling up in action.”

However, members of the public as well as politicians from other parties have raised questions about what has led to towns being “left behind” and whether enough has been done to mitigate against “run-down town centres and anti-social behaviour” by Conservative governments over the past 13 years.

The Scarborough and Whitby constituency has also been identified as a key battleground for both the Conservatives and Labour at the next general election.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Alison Hume, the Labour candidate for Scarborough and Whitby, said the announcement amounted to “barely more than shiny headlines, chaos, and delays”.

“Scarborough is a beautiful town, but we are facing serious challenges, and this week we’re seeing the closure of yet another shop in our town centre.”

Ms Hume added: “It’s quite frankly insulting that the prime minister believes this offer will make up for thirteen years of cuts and neglect.”

Documents published by the Government state that local authorities can expect the release of the first year’s funding by next summer if the town boards have been set up and long-term plans finalised.