NEW PROPOSALS TO SUPPORT TOWN CENTRE
The Borough Council has outlined additional steps it plans to take to help breathe new life into Newcastle town centre.
A number of positive steps have already been taken by the authority to reinvigorate the retailing heart of Newcastle such as – reductions in some car parking charges, support for town centre events and the reopening of the Guildhall as a community hub.
Now Cabinet members have backed a new report whichoutlines a further programme of actions.
The two main strands of the new approach are: a ‘Healthy High Street’ – actions to improve trading conditions and economic vibrancy, growing footfall,supporting traders and reinvigorating the town’s market– and ‘Diversification’, converting under-used or redundant sites to residential and non-retail use,including Ryecroft, Lancaster Building and St. George’s Chambers.
Cllr. Simon Tagg, Leader of the Council, said: “We want to revitalise and grow our high street; we want to encourage niche independent shops and businesses and we need more people living and working in the town centre.
“Our Council Plan contains a commitment to ‘A Town Centre for All’ and we have recently signed the Growth Deal with Staffordshire County Council. This report follows on from that. Everyone is a stakeholder in our town centres future.
“We share the leadership with our partners and by collaborating with the county council, the Business Improvement District, Staffordshire Police, Keele University, fellow councillors, our residents, students and others we can really have some influence over the next few years to improve the town for all. That is what we will do.”
For future governance and delivery the report recommends that appropriate mechanisms are put in place:
25 April 2019 2…… strategy
In addition to this, research will be carried out onparking patterns in the town centre: frequency, timespent, purpose and customer satisfaction. This will inform a new Parking Strategy to be outlined later this year.
The two work streams identified will allow the Council and its partners the ability to focus on both long–term and short–term interventions to try and arrest and reverse the decline of the town centre.
Cllr. Tagg added: “This is the first report, a teeing-up of ideas if you like. We are already working on new initiatives for our historic market in Newcastle and now we are extending our thinking to Newcastle town centre itself.
“Further work will follow, including a prospectus for the town centre and a programme of actions to reinvigorate Kidsgrove town centre as well, working with our partners there – they have not been forgotten.”