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RECOVERING: Council gets £357,000 to improve town centres

RECOVERING: Council gets £357,000 to improve town centres

Gateshead High Street, Image Chronicle Live

Gateshead Council has been given hundreds of thousands of pounds to help the borough’s shopping centres recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

A report set to be heard by the authority’s cabinet revealed that it has been allocated £357,856 from the Government’s “welcome back fund”.

The fund, which is paid for with cash from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is subject to  “onerous requirements,” the report said.

This means it has to be spent by the end of March next year and can’t be spent on work that would have been done anyway.

The authority proposes spending £100,000 on “local environment improvements” such as tidying up and cleaning the borough’s shopping centres.

Meanwhile, £25,000 council be spent on encouraging local traders to support shopping centres.

The council also wants to spend £50,000 on market research to  “better understand who is using local centres and what they are being used for.”

Another £30,000 could be spent on  “footfall monitoring to establish the level of activity in centres.”

Finally, the council wants to spend £25,000 on events to increase visitor numbers to shopping centres.

However, the report stated that these figures are “indicative and do not currently represent a commitment of the full amount.”

It also warned that because of “tight rules and short time-scales” it is not known whether it can achieve full spend by the March deadline.

The council’s cabinet is set to vote on the report at a meeting on Tuesday.

 

Words: Herbert Soden, Local Democracy Reporter


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