Stockton High Street
Martin Walker

Member Article

Multi-million pound investment is re-inventing Stockton town centre

A multi-million pound investment in Stockton is helping the town centre to re-invent itself, according to a report.

The latest report commissioned by the Future High Streets Forum says town centres are emerging “in a different shape”.

Not only is the multi-million pound regeneration scheme in Stockton physically transforming the look of the town centre, but it is offering a whole new mix of activities from shopping, to eating out and first class events.

The report, published last week, highlights a number of ways in which successful high streets are re-inventing themselves and Stockton’s already moving forward with many of these.

Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, Councillor Mike Smith, said: “This latest report is particularly encouraging as many of the changes it highlights are under way in Stockton.

“We agree that a town centre should offer more than just shopping and that’s why we are creating an all-round destination for events, shopping, culture, markets, heritage and enterprise.

“Through the physical regeneration which has seen improvements to the road layout and parking re-introduced onto the high street we are making it easier to visit the shops, business and leisure opportunities in the town and changes to the design are making it a much more welcoming place to be.

“The busy events programme is continuing to entice more and more people to visit the town centre and many businesses are taking advantage of this by staying open later to cater for the passing trade, something else that the report encourages.

“Like the report’s authors, we also acknowledge that an increasing number of people now turn to the internet for information and that is why we have created a dedicated website to keep people up-to-date with changes in the town.”

The report also suggests that town centres should be business and enterprise hubs giving local businesses an opportunity to access training and to promote enterprise and innovation.

In Stockton the Council has appointed B-supplied to deliver a retail support programme and the Enterprise Arcade offers start-up businesses low cost retail space and a full package of business support.

Many businesses which started life in the Enterprise Arcade have gone on to establish themselves in premises in the town centre including Pet Boutique, Wags and Whiskers.

Owner Carl Shepherdson said: “I am grateful for all the support Stockton Council’s Enterprise Arcade has given me in the last six months.

“By trading from the Arcade I was able to see if my business idea was viable. Business is now booming, I’m really excited about the coming months and the completion of the town’s regeneration programme.”

The number and range of cultural experiences available in the town centre are growing too, with Art’s Council Funding for Arc recently being extended whilst the Splash Leisure Centre and Stockton Central Library are continuing to provide a diverse selection of activities in the heart of the town centre.

All this is complemented by several new eateries. In the last week, Costa Coffee opened its doors, and last month a new branch of popular Billingham restaurant, Mohujos, opened offering diners a wide range of Mexican food with riverside views.

For more information about the transformation of Stockton Town Centre visit www.rediscoverstockton.co.uk

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Martin Walker .

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