A top politician is calling for a revival of High Wycombe’s town centre as the government announces a £1.5 billion regeneration plan for the country’s high streets.

Wycombe MP Steve Baker said he “fully supports” Chancellor Philip Hammond’s pledge to “help the high street and town centres evolve” and wants Wycombe District Council and HWBidco to work together to “use these policies to transform areas like Frogmoor”.

He said: “The key point is people need to use it or lose it. That is as true of the High Street as it is of pubs.

“People are often upset when pubs close, they’re upset when shops close but the truth is, we’re all changing the way we shop. If we treasure our High Streets, we do need to go and use them.”

Mr Hammond has pledged to cut business rates by a third for up to 90 per cent of retail properties for two years and has said the government will create a £675 million Future High Streets Fund to help areas make their high streets and town centres “fit for the future”.

The government will also consult on planning reform to make it simpler to create more homes, jobs and choice in town centres, and will trail a register of empty shops to see how this could work.

Mr Baker added: “There is Public Health England evidence that High streets with a wide choice alongside well designed planned residential or office space they are more resilient to these changes and are adapting more successfully.

“In contrast high streets that rely heavily on traditional retail without sufficient office space and housing surrounding the high street, have found it harder to adapt.

“For as long as I’ve been MP what we’ve seen is areas of our high street stubbornly resisting regeneration and I think particularly at Frogmoor.

“I really want us to take this moment to transform High Wycombe town centre and improve it dramatically, especially in those areas that are stubbornly resisting efforts.

“I particularly believe that when young people need more affordable housing, when they may not have transport, this is an ideal opportunity to make it more possible to live in our town centre.

The business rates discount will be available to occupied retail properties with a rateable value below £51,000.

But certain services such as professional services and estate agents will not be able to take advantage of the discount.

And the £675 million fund will invest in improvements to town centre infrastructure, including to increase access to high streets, reduce congestion, support redevelopment around high streets and enable housing and new workspaces to be created.

Mr Baker said: “I would like to see HWBIDCo and the district council to come together to work out how best to relax planning constraints on what is done in a town centre so that people can live there, work there and enjoy the facilities of the town centre.

“If we do that we will find that we have a vibrant community emerging with shared public spaces that people can enjoy.

“I’d like to see a bid that reinvigorates our historic high street. I want to see a proactive stance taken particularly by the BIDCo, in taking advantage of this set of policies to fulfil a regeneration because we cannot just go on complaining and doing the same old thing – bring in traditional retail and then complaining again when the High Street doesn’t reinvigorate.

“We need to follow the evidence, adopt the policies and turn the place around.

“BIDCo has done some excellent work improving the appearance of our town centre but the challenge now is for the BIDCo to really demonstrate its value to its taxpayers by taking a lead on this because this is about the improvement of our town centre, of our business district right there in the centre of town and that is the job of the BIDCo.”