Release Date: 08/06/2012
Richmond Council is cementing it's wide ranging support for the borough’s town centres through a pledge to provide continued vital funding.
The Council has allocated a £65,000 Town Centre Opportunities Fund across all the borough’s centres. This is available to traders and other town centre associations for projects that will boost the local economy. This allocation ensures initiatives are locally driven to meet priorities and that the Council’s funding is matched through volunteering and funding in the area. In the past, the fund has supported a whole range of promotional activities within the community, including events designed to attract both local people and visitors.
This allocation follows the £1.2m invested into Whitton, Twickenham and Barnes, from the Mayor of London’s Outer London Fund. There is also an agreement of more than £250,000 towards a range of borough-wide economic initiatives including visitor marketing; management and supporting inward investment, which will also help support the centres, plus the introduction of free, 30 minute parking for residents. This money, along with the Town Centre Opportunities Fund, is intended to ensure that the Council takes forward the recommendations of the Mary Portas Review, that our town and local centres continue to provide a community focus for the borough’s villages, plus a good range of shops and services to our communities.
There has been a particular focus on Twickenham, which has been identified as in need of regeneration. The Twickenham Area Action Plan aims to ensure key sites are redeveloped in a way which is sensitive to local needs and leads the regeneration of the centre. This proposal includes the creation of an exciting new park at Twickenham Riverside and extensive improvements to the public realm which will soon be subject to consultation. This investment in Twickenham has meant other areas in the borough can now benefit from the Town Centre Fund.
The Council also commissioned work on the potential for a Business Improvement District and the findings are currently under consideration.
Cllr Pamela Fleming, said:
“This is excellent news for all of the town centres in the borough and will really help them at such a tough economic time. We felt it was vitally important to make sure the allocation of money was made available to all the town centres in the borough and we have already been liaising with the Town Centre groups around the borough as to where best this money should be allocated.
We are committed to assisting every town centre in the borough in enhancing our local economy and improving shopping centres for everybody.”
The funding pledge has been warmly welcomed by local businesses and groups. Sharon Bastion, of the Hampton Wick Association, said:
“The funding we received from the Town Centre Opportunities Fund last year has been absolutely invaluable to us and has really helped us make a difference in helping to promote our local economy.
A vibrant town centre is absolutely vital to every community and thanks to the funding we were able to support our local economy by producing and delivering a new Business Directory to 3000 local residents and businesses. This helped promote the great services on offer from our shops, pubs, restaurants and offices, and encouraged residents and businesses to shop locally. Without the support of the Town Centre Opportunities Fund this vital work may not have been possible.”