Community leaders were given just five days to come up with proposals on how to spend Government cash to “support a safe return to the high street.” A letter regarding the Government’s ‘Welcome Back’ fund was sent by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) to the Cheadle Town Mayor and fellow members of the Cheadle town Council on Thursday (May 20).
Community leaders were given just five days to come up with proposals on how to spend Government cash to “support a safe return to the high street.”
A letter regarding the Government’s ‘Welcome Back’ fund was sent by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) to the Cheadle Town Mayor and fellow members of the Cheadle town Council on Thursday (May 20).
The letter, which the Times & Echo has seen, invited town councillors to “submit proposals for actions that you may wish to deliver in your town and the funding required.”
The letter set out that the district council have already come up with a plan to spend £33,090 of the funds on ‘Welcome Back Signage’ as well as commissioning a marketing agency to promote the town centres.
The letter author also explained that Cheadle has now been allocated to spend £18,000 of the £87,090 of the Government’s Welcome Back fund.
They also stated that “outline details and costs of any activities” needed to be returned to SMDC by May 25 (yesterday – Tuesday).
Cheadle Mayor Sue Walley said of the funding which has now been made available for Cheadle: “As you will know the Welcome Back Fund is to support a safe return to the High Street.
“The (Cheadle Town Council) Clerk received the information by email from SMDC on Thursday. All councillors received the email shortly afterwards.
“The timescale for submission was short with a deadline of Tuesday, May 25.
“Thanks to the hard work of councillors we have been able to submit our application.
“Councillor Upton has been particularly proactive in securing the views of local businesses.”
Cllr Upton further told the Times & Echo: “We had only five days notice of this funding stream but, with the help of Team Cheadle and local shop owners, have pulled together some great ideas for how we can get people back to visiting the town.
“The funding is for temporary projects only, so painting our existing street furniture or new town signs, for example, is not permitted.
“Some of the suggestions for use of the funding are: Deep cleaning the High Street and the area around the car park; Notice board displaying the range of shops in the town; Professional cleaning of the Bourne Fountain; High Street music extravaganza; Family fun day; Continental market; Part of Tape Street car park to be used for events throughout the Summer.
“So fingers crossed we will be allocated our fair share of the funding to enable a vibrant town centre over the coming months and to put Cheadle on the map.”
The Times & Echo contacted SMDC about the short time-scale in which Cheadle Town Council (and other councils within the district) had to respond to the request for ideas on how to spend the Welcome Back cash.
A spokesperson for the district council said yesterday (Tuesday, May 25): “Though the Welcome Back fund was announced by the Government in March, further guidance and training on how to deliver this fund wasn’t available from MHCLG for a number of weeks.”
According to the Government’s website, the guidance they produced surrounding the funding was first published on April 16.
The SMDC spokesman added: “Our regeneration team have worked as quickly as possible to provide further information to town councils, however we appreciate that deadlines out of our control have resulted in the need to act quickly in response.
“The deadline of May 25 is for the proposed action plan which will be submitted by us to MHCLG.
“Following assessment of eligible activity, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council will work with town councils on the outlined proposals to further develop the plans.
“We would like to thank the town councils for their efficiency and understanding, and look forward to working with them for the mutual benefit of the towns.”
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