Kirkham hopes for high street investment boost

Kirkham town centre
Kirkham town centre

The town mayor of Kirkham is excited at the prospect of a share of Government funding to revitalise its high street.

Kirkham is among 50 towns and cities in England hoping to benefit from a share of a £1 billion fund which can be used for schemes including improved transport links or converting empty shops into new homes and offices.

Along with Blackpool, Kirkham can expect to receive up to £150,000 to support the development of detailed project proposals which can be submitted for capital funding.

Kirkham town mayor Coun Liz Oades said: "We have applied for a share of the funding via Fylde Council and we hope we are successful.

"Kirkham really needs a boost - the town has suffered with the loss of all its banks, which has really affected footfall and we hope investment can improve matters.

"We need something to act as a magnet to bring people into town, perhaps a leisure activity of some kind would be the answer."

Fylde MP Mark Menzies was this week due to meet Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry in the hope of progressing the bid.

Mr Menzies said ahead of the meeting: “I will be speaking to the minister about the need to improve the streetscene in Kirkham, the paving areas for pedestrians and roads for access.

“We need to fund a full masterplan and urban design study to help attract businesses and shoppers back to the town.

“The loss of the town’s banks has been a hard pill to swallow, but I believe a good level of investment will help bring independent and national businesses, as well as shoppers, back to the town centre.

“I’ve also supported a second funding bid for Kirkham which would work well alongside this initial successful bid.

"The heritage bid would help us bring older and forgotten buildings back into use, and would see funding made available for us to take down some of the unsympathetic signage that has been put up over the years, hiding Kirkham’s heritage in the process.

“We need to make sure there is more choice for residents in Kirkham and we’re looking at increasing the arts and health offer in the town centre to attract more people in.

“I’ll be discussing the matter with the minister and making the strongest possible case for funding for the town.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said of the cash being made available: “Our high streets are right at the heart of our communities, and I will do everything I can to make sure they remain vibrant places where people want to go, meet and spend their money.
“But with our town centres facing challenges, we’re today expanding the High Streets Fund to support over 100 high streets to regenerate - backed by £1bn of vital investment.”
Mr Johnson added: “This scheme is going to re-energise and transform even more of our high streets - helping them to attract new businesses, boost local growth, and create new infrastructure and jobs.”