Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin leaders welcome new high street cash

Shropshire, and Telford & Wrekin have been awarded almost £450,000 in cash to boost high street trade in towns across the county as pandemic rules ease.

Bridgnorth town centre
Bridgnorth town centre

The main councils are among 70 to be given a slice of the Government's new £56 million Welcome Back fund to help England’s high streets and coastal towns safely reopen ahead of the summer.

The cashed aimed to allow councils to boost the look of areas by improved green spaces, more outdoor seating areas as well as markets and pop-up food stalls has been welcomed by council leaders.

Shropshire Council will get £288,194 and Telford and Wrekin £160,484 to spend on schemes.

"This money will bring back life to towns in Shropshire and not just the big places, but also the market towns as well," said Shropshire Council leader Peter Nutting.

"For example, we have considered ideas for Bridgnorth which is in need of a boost and we would like to develop a multi-storey car park in Innage Lane and this money will help towards the planning costs.

"To be fair to the Government there has been quite a lot of extra costs for us to cover due to the coronavirus pandemic and it has covered most of them. We own the Shrewsbury Golf Course and a number of swimming pools which have been closed and not generating income.

"It is a good gesture."


Telford & Wrekin Council leader Shaun Davies said: "We welcome this funding which will be added to the £4m investment programme the council has launched to help our high streets welcome back customers in a Covid safe way.

"Over the last few years we have invested millions of pounds to support our high streets and local businesses. We encourage all residents to shop local."

The council is planning to launch the Loyal to Local campaign on April 12, which aims to increase footfall while highlighting the importance of shopping locally, as well as parking remaining free at all the borough council's high street car parks until May 10.

The Welcome Back money is part of a package of measures unveiled by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick, including that pubs will also be permitted to erect marquees in gardens during the summer months.

Mr Jenrick said: “As we move to the next stage on the roadmap out of lockdown we are all looking forward to being reunited with friends and family outdoors and making a safe and happy return to our favourite shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants.

“Our Welcome Back Fund gives every city, town and high street support to prepare for a great summer. This funding will help councils and businesses to welcome shoppers, diners and tourists back safely."

Labour's Shadow communities secretary Steve Reed said: “This is just a drop in the ocean compared to how much the Conservatives took away over a decade when they pushed our high streets and seaside towns into deep decline.”

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