Regeneration of town centres to be looked at

Efforts are to be made to help ensure both Kirkham and St Annes can benefit from Government cash for high street regeneration.

Fylde Council is looking into what can be done to make sure both town centres can benefit from the funds available.
Kirkham, which has been left without a single bank branch following a further closure last year, is already one of the towns included in the first phase of the Government’s Future High Streets Fund.
The town was accepted into an expanded chosen list of 100 last August after initially being left out of the first 50.
Successful candidates will progress to the second phase of the Future High Streets Fund and receive up to £150,000 to support an action plan for the main bid.
If deemed eligible for the next phase after that, Kirkham and others successful towns could eventually be offered funding of up to £25 million to improve transport and access into town centres, convert empty retail units into new homes and workplaces, and invest in vital infrastructure.
But councillors are to look into whether St Annes can also benefit, after the issue came up for discussion at Fylde’s planning committee last week.
A council report stated: “As part of a review of issues facing St Annes town centre, a workshop has been arranged to examine what
intervention is required to ensure that St Annes Town Centre remains a vibrant and attractive centre to both residents and visitors to the borough.
“It is not clear whether there will be a second round of the Future High Street Fund, or whether the restrictions of one bid per local authority area applied to round one will continue if there is a round two.
“As it is by no means certain that the trading conditions faced by St Annes are such that a bid would be successful, committee are recommended to consider the outcomes from the St Annes Town Centre workshop to examine all opportunities to secure funding to assist in the future development of St Annes, including, but not limited to any future rounds of the Future High Street Fund.”
Last year Coun Tim Armitt put St Annes town centre on the agenda when he asked what measures could be taken to halt the decline of the high street.
He said councillors desperately needed to “think outside the box” to attract people back in.
Last week members agreed to establish a working group of elected members to consider the findings of the St Annes town centre workshop.

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