- The South East LEP awards £867,708 Local Growth Fund for the Southend Town Centre Interventions project
- The project is expected to create 31 new jobs and return 1,086sq m of employment workspace
- A further £632,292 will be allocated to the project should further LGF funding become available in the future
The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) has supplied Southend on Sea Borough Council with £867,708 from the Local Growth Fund (LGF) for the Southend Town Centre Interventions project, which is designed to revitalise the town centre through a range of initiatives.
The project – estimated to cost around £2.5m in total – is designed to address the challenges faced by Southend town centre to help make it vibrant, diverse and ready for the future. While the town centre remains popular and receives a large number of visitors, it also has increasing levels of vacant retail space, public safety issues and poor messaging about what the town has to offer visitors.
Southend on Sea Borough Council is planning to use the funds to install footfall cameras throughout the High Street to count and report footfall, which will in turn influence investment, events and opening hours; and offer a 75/25 shop façade grant to encourage businesses to invest in external shop improvements.
The funding will also be used to improve lighting, green spaces and wayfinding to draw visitors to the High Street and seafront from the Southend Victoria and Central stations. The project is expected to create 31 new jobs connected to the return of vacant retail units to use, and to return 1,086sq m of employment workspace to use.
The South East LEP Accountability Board made the funding decision at its latest meeting on the 15th November 2019. Southend on Sea Borough Council originally sought £1.5m in LGF for the project; the balance of £632,292 will be allocated to the project should further LGF funding become available as a result of funding being returned to SELEP.
South East LEP Chair Christian Brodie said:
“All town centres across the country are having to adapt to a shifting retail environment. The leisure sector in towns is becoming increasingly popular, changing the dynamic of how consumers visit town centres, and how they spend their money and time once there.
“It is encouraging to see Southend on Sea Borough Council making the effort to evolve Southend town centre to attract more visitors. This funding will contribute to a refreshed and more attractive Southend town centre.”
Councillor Ron Woodley, cabinet member for transport, capital and investment, said:
“We’re really pleased South East LEP has agreed to fund £867,708 of this £1.5m investment, which will enhance and improve the High Street and town centre area, and hopefully breathe new life into our town, encourage shoppers back and investment in our local economy.”
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