Barnstaple and Bideford are both set to benefit from a multi-million pound Government investment which aims to breathe new life into town centres across the country.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed a £1 billion funding boost under the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government's Future High Streets Fund on Monday (August 26) for 50 towns across the country.

The funding can be used by these areas to improve transport and access into town centres, convert empty retail units into new homes and workplaces, and invest in vital infrastructure.

North Devon Council had worked alongside Barnstaple Town Centre Management (TCM) to apply for the government's Future High Streets Fund.

Matthew Brend, chairman of TCM, previously said: "We all know that our town centre is evolving. Unprecedented changes in shopping habits and the retail landscape mean that we need to think about what function we want our town centre to play in the future.

"Barnstaple town centre has traditionally been the heart of our community, the place where people come to meet and socialise but with the changes in retail and lifestyles we need to ensure that there are still reasons for people to come and spend time in the town and ensure that it remains at the heart for generations to come."

Bideford's bid for the Future High Streets Fund would unlock focus on the core provision of mixed retail, residential, cultural and leisure facilities with a covered open space at the heart of the town.

Plans to develop QR-accessible Augmented Reality trails to highlight the town's unique heritage, providing an improved offer for both tourists and residents were also included in the bid.

A spokesman for Torridge District Council said: "While we welcome this new initiative and are excited about the potential regeneration of Bideford town centre, unfortunately at the moment the council has not received any direct contact about this fund and our knowledge is based on government announcements.

"We are still awaiting clarification on figures, timescales and how we can use the money, and we will provide more information when we receive it."

Prime Minister Boris 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.

"But with our town centres facing challenges, we're today expanding the High Streets Fund to support over 100 high streets to regenerate - backed by £1 billion of vital investment.

"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."

Successful candidates will progress to the second phase of the Future High Streets Fund and receive up to £150,000 to support the development of detailed project proposals that can be submitted for capital funding.