A £90,000 bid to transform Stalybridge town centre will now face tough competition from across the country, as towns battle it out for a share of £1million Government funding.
Earlier this year the Government announced it would be making the funding available to 12 towns that were willing to trial the ideas in The Portas Review.
And since then traders, community leaders and residents have been developing ideas to breathe new life into the heart of Stalybridge.
As part of the bid process they had to make a video about the town, which can be seen here. And now their ideas have been submitted to Government for consideration.
No date has been set for the announcement of successful bids.
Commenting on the bid Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds, who has been working with traders for the past 12 months, said: “Stalybridge has a great history, great people and we have a great area around us. With all of these factors Stalybridge should be a vibrant town centre - but it really hasn’t had that for the last few years.
“The response from businesses, community groups, churches, everybody, has been great. And the way people have come forward and got involved has been amazing.
“There is a huge amount of local pride across the whole of the town. Of course we are proud of our history, but also determined to have a better quality of town centre and investment like this would speed things along.”
Retail expert Mary Portas was asked to lead a review into the future of the high street last year, in recognition of the challenges that town centres were facing across the country.
Nationally around one in six shops are now vacant. Town centre vacancy rates have doubled over the past two years. And now supermarkets account for 97 per cent of grocery sales
The Portas Review looks at the need to ensure town centres are lively, dynamic and social places that give a sense of belonging to a community – though she accepts there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution.
At the heart of the Portas Review is the creation of Town Teams that would typically bring together traders, landlords, community leaders and civic leaders who would develop collective vision, strategy and direction.
Stalybridge’s new Town Team has already come up with a number of ideas to develop the town centre in Stalybridge.
They want to improve the physical environment of the town, with traders already agreeing to fund hanging baskets and Christmas Trees to line the main streets.
They are looking to open up the town, with the creation of a meeting place and the possible expansion of existing markets. And they are looking at ways traders and landlords could encourage and support young entrepreneurs.
But the plans are about community involvement too, with ideas that may build on the town’s rich musical heritage and provide practical opportunities for residents to run and take part in activities.
Published 2 April, 2012