£10,000 to boost high street

Coun Elaine Silverwood, who runs the award-winning Silverdell Books shop on Poulton Street, Kirkham
Coun Elaine Silverwood, who runs the award-winning Silverdell Books shop on Poulton Street, Kirkham
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A town centre is to get a £10,000 to boost its high street despite a row over when it will be handed over.

The money has been handed to the ‘town team’ set up in Kirkham as part of an initiative which is seeing £5.5m given to high streets across the country.

Kirkham councillor Elaine Silverwood said the money had been given to the town, but said it was being delayed by Fylde Council’s cabinet.

A spokesman for the authority said it had no plans to retain the moment insisting it was taking advice from Whitehall about the money.

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 the rural Fylde we know how to make this kind of money go a long way – it can make a difference to Kirkham.”

She said the money would be spent on improved promotion of the town’s free parking and to support its independent traders in boosting footfall to help fill empty shops on the high street.

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 said: “The council has been nominated as the accountable body in this initiative and we now need to understand in what sense we will be accountable.

“This money is really nothing to do with us, it is negotiated between Kirkham’s town team and Whitehall, so there is no intention to keep it, we have no right to keep it.”