Scarborough to get a share of £1bn government fund to boost high street

Westborough high street. PIC: Richard Ponter
Westborough high street. PIC: Richard Ponter

The leader of Scarborough Council has welcomed the news that the authority is one of 50 that will now get a share of a £1bn Government fund designed to boost England’s run-down high streets.

Scarborough initially missed out during the bidding process for the Future High Streets Fund but Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced yesterday that he was doubling the number of towns that would benefit.

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Cllr Steve Siddons (Lab), Leader of Scarborough Borough Council, said: “The announcement that Scarborough is through to the next stage of the Future High Street Fund competition fits perfectly with our plans to regenerate and rejuvenate Scarborough town centre.

“It could allow us to build on the council’s agreement to step in and develop the old Argos site. Winning this money would mean we can develop more areas of the town where private developers have not invested for far too many years.

“At this stage, we have won a grant of up to £150,000 to prepare a plan for a scheme to re-energise more of the town centre.

“As we are in competition with 99 other towns, everyone in Scarborough is going to have to pull together to get the best bid possible to generate change in this borough.”

Scarborough Council is looking to borrow £22 million for its plan to build 200 student flats and a public square in the town centre on the site of the Argos building in Newborough.

The borrowing will almost double the amount of debt the borough authority has. Last week, independent Cllr John Casey said that given the chance again he would now vote against the scheme after talks with residents and businesses in his ward of Filey.

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Cllr Siddons said the scheme would benefit the economy.

He added: “The Argos scheme will bring homes and shops and hopefully a fine new town square, all of which will benefit the whole economy of the area.

“We can now plan to bring even more innovative and beneficial stages to the regeneration of the town centre with this new opportunity and a bigger boost to the area.”

Robert Goodwill, MP for Scarborough and Whitby, said the Future High Street Fund could boost the town's economic prospects.

He said: "This is excellent news for the whole of the Scarborough Council area, coming hot on the heels of the national call last week for more investment in our coastal resorts.

"If Scarborough Council is successful in winning some of the £1 billion from the Government fund it will play a very significant part in attracting new investment to the coast and will bring in new jobs and a boost for the whole economy. I shall be giving my fullest support to the council's bid at government level.

"We are already seeing considerable investment in such schemes as the two new Premier Inns in Scarborough's town centre and North Side. We have seen Government funding used to regenerate the Market Hall and the Future High Street Fund could be key to seeing more investment in Scarborough, Whitby and Filey."

Mr Goodwill's sentiments were echoed by Cllr Derek Bastiman, Leader of the Conservative Group on the Borough Council, who said : "News of Scarborough's inclusion in the Government's Future High Streets funding scheme is to be warmly welcomed.

"It will be a great fillip to the local economy and I'm sure will help attract more investment both from the public and private sectors. It proves the council with exciting challenges to produce initiatives which could be financed and which in turn will help make our coastal holiday area and even greater attraction to the holidaying public."

In October 2018, alongside sister titles across JPI Media, The Scarborough News launched the Love your High Street Campaign to support local initiatives and great independent retailers in our patch in a series of regular features.

Throughout the campaign issues raised by businesses were poor signage to streets such as Bar Street, off the main thoroughfare and limited parking for tourists and residents.

In December, backed by the campaign, up to 50 independent businesses offered special discounts to residents through the Love Local initiative.