General Question to the Leader of the Council

“Communities Secretary John Denham has announced £52,632 from a fund to help many of the hardest hit areas reopen or re-use empty shops.  Funding was allocated to the top half most deprived local authority areas based on the Index of Multiple Deprivation and the highest vacancy rates.

Please can you tell me how and where this money will be spent?”

Councillor Lisa Northover 

Reply by the Leader of the Council:

‘Last Friday, 4th December, the Government announced it was awarding a further £2.6 million to fifty more high streets as part of its ‘Real Help Now’ support.  Bournemouth Council has been awarded £52,630.

The Council has been progressing  a number of initiatives to combat the negative impact of the recession and the increasing incidence of ‘void’ space occurring in the borough. These initiatives include:

Liaison with principle commercial letting agents in the borough to create a platform to engage landlords.

Ongoing contact with potential new retailers who may not be represented in the Borough with a view to informing them of the opportunities available to invest here.

The Community regeneration Officer and the Arts Development Officer have created a proposal for ‘Art in empty spaces’, an initiative to engage local artists with unoccupied retail space.

The Town Centre Manager is working with Dance Southwest to introduce a number of creative displays early in the New Year.

The funds that have now been allocated enable us to bring forward initiatives in order to respond to this challenge posed by the recession.  I expect the funding to be directed to Boscombe, the Town Centre and North Bournemouth.’


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