Anger erupts at cash hold-up

Kirkham town centre. looking up Poulton Street , the George Hotel on the left . view
Kirkham town centre. looking up Poulton Street , the George Hotel on the left . view

A ROW has erupted over a cash boost for Kirkham’s high street.

The cash is to be given to Kirkham Town Council as part of an initiative which is seeing £5.5m given to high streets across the country.

Kirkham councillor Elaine Silverwood said £10,000 had been granted, but that the cash was being delayed by Fylde Council’s cabinet.

The cash relates to a Government grant made in the wake of retail guru Mary Portas’ report into the future of high streets in the UK.

A spokesman for the borough said it had no plans to retain the money, insisting it was taking advice from Whitehall.

Coun Silverwood said: “Kirkham was the only part of Fylde to make a bid for Portas Pilot status, albeit unsuccessfully, and then we were denied any part of the £100,000 the Government subsequently gave to the borough, so to try and delay this money coming to us is shameful.

“We had been promised by the council there was no question the money would be given to Kirkham and then, a couple of days later, we were told the matter needed to be debated by cabinet.

“£10,000 may not seem like a lot to other parts of the borough, but in rural Fylde we know how to make this kind of money go a long way – it can make a difference to Kirkham.

“I believe this is political point scoring. The money should come straight to us, not be debated by the cabinet. I’m so angry the cabinet has elbowed its way in.”

Coun Silverwood said the money would be spent on improved promotion of the town’s free parking and to support independent traders in boosting footfall to help fill empty shopst.

A council spokesman confirmed it had received the cash from Whitehall following a bid by local MP Mark Menzies for ‘town team partner’ status for Kirkham.

The spokesman admitted the authority’s treasury department had been “surprised” to see the arrival of the cash.

He added: “We want Kirkham to have the money – we will release the money once the situation is clarified. We support them fully in their plans, it will be a case of days rather than weeks when they will receive it.”