High streets throughout the Borough of Spelthorne can look forward to a share of just over £40,000 to help retailers and shoppers stay safe as shops, bars and restaurants begin to reopen.
The Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership, which supports business growth in Hampshire and Surrey, has moved quickly to establish a Supporting Town Centres Fund designed to give confidence to shoppers and high street users.
The project, led by Spelthorne Borough Council, uses recent data on cycling trends through the Covid-19 pandemic to respond to an increase in cycling by commuters in the Borough. The scheme will see greater access to bicycle storage in Staines, Shepperton and Ashford with an additional 102 storage slots becoming available to Spelthorne residents in just 6 weeks.
Two large digital screens will be installed as part of the project to provide safety information in the Elmsleigh Centre and Two Rivers shopping centres, while a webcam will display live images of Staines town centre to inform shoppers when the high street is particularly busy. Enhanced social distancing measures will also be put in place for wheelchair users with 22 new ramps around the borough, for safe entry and exit into shops.
Speaking after the announcement at the LEP’s Annual General Meeting, Dave Axam, the Chair of Enterprise M3 said:
“I am delighted EM3 is supporting the safe re-opening of two key town centres in our region; it is a testament to what can be done when partners work closely toward a common goal. This scheme is all about rolling out innovative and sustainable projects quickly in order to support town centres which have been suffering throughout this crisis.
The Covid pandemic has made us all re-think how we use town centres and projects such as this, which will inspire confidence in people to get our high streets moving safely again, are crucial to a rapid recovery.”
Heather Morgan, Group Head Regeneration and Growth at Spelthorne Borough Council, said:
“As the only Council in Surrey to be awarded this funding we are delighted to have received this support from EM3. This grant will be used to transform our town centres for the better and make them more accessible and greener.
The Council will be installing 22 wheelchair ramps in Staines, while we will also be introducing new cycle racks in Staines, Sunbury, Ashford and Shepperton. We will be able to communicate with shoppers better with the introduction of digital screens at the Elmsleigh Centre and at Two Rivers. Staines town centre will benefit from a live webcam feed which will give a view of the high street; this will allow residents to view the level of pedestrian traffic before visiting. We believe these welcome additions will benefit the community immensely and boost our local economy as we return to normality”
Enterprise M3 has contributed £42,850 toward a total project cost of £85,700 in Spelthorne. The Supporting Town Centres Fund is a £500,000 fund utilising unallocated Local Growth Funding from central Government to identify and fund projects which can be delivered quickly to keep people safe as restrictions are eased around the region. Winchester City Council was also successful in its bid to Enterprise M3 LEP for a share of the fund.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
The Supporting Town Centres Fund was announced by the EM3 LEP on 26th May 2020 as a rapid response to the Covid19 emergency.
The scheme is aimed at funding pilot projects that can be delivered quickly and keep people safe as restrictions begin to ease in areas high streets, commercial centres and transport hubs.
ABOUT ENTERPRISE M3 LEP (EM3):
EM3 is business-led and brings together the private, public and not-for-profit sectors in a joint endeavour to drive prosperity for the people and places in our region.
As a Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), we receive funds from government and leverage additional private sector investment in order to make strategic investments to create, nurture and sustain the right conditions for economic growth in our area.
More information on EM3 can be found at: www.enterprisem3.org.uk
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For further information relating to this press release or about EM3, please contact: Communications Manager, Ryan Sutton
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