High Street Minister, Penny Mordaunt MP, discovered the newly rejuvenated Stockton Town Centre this week.
Members of Stockton’s Town Team took the MP on a tour to see how the town is transforming into a welcoming and enticing place to work, shop and visit.
In 2012 Stockton was chosen as a ‘Portas Pilot’ town. During the same year its physical regeneration programme also got under way.
The High Street Minister saw first-hand how the town centre has dramatically changed since then – both in look and feel.
Local Growth Minister Penny Mordaunt said: “It’s been fantastic to see the energy and enthusiasm that the Town Team have brought to the High Street. The team has a clear vision for making Stockton a distinctive and vibrant place to shop and work, and this Government is giving them the tools to make it a reality.”
The final stages of the physical regeneration are now nearing completion. These include works in the central part of the High Street which will bring a focal point to the Town Centre, incorporating seating, grass, feature lighting and a stylish water feature. It will also double up as an event space which provides the perfect place to sit, relax and enjoy Stockton’s packed programme of events.
Leader of Stockton Council, Councillor Bob Cook, said: “We know that town centres should offer more than just shopping and that’s why we have been working with the Town Team to create a town that looks good, feels good and where there is always something happening.
“Through the town’s regeneration we are creating an all-round destination which is different from other town centres by offering leisure, events, shopping, culture, markets, heritage and business in one place.
“We have recently introduced parking on the High Street which is making it easier for people to visit the many and varied independent businesses which are establishing themselves in the town.”
Earlier this month the town’s thriving Enterprise Arcade re-opened in a new, larger premises right at the heart of the High Street. The Arcade provides low cost, low risk retail space to test trade retail ideas. The High Street Minister spent time yesterday meeting with some of the fledgling traders which are based there.
As well as the growing number of shops and eateries Stockton has a busy specialist markets programme which offers a unique shopping experience. Meanwhile Stockton’s 700 year old traditional market continues to be held every Wednesday and Saturday.
During yesterday’s tour the High Street Minister also saw the giant Christmas decorations which are currently being prepared across the High Street ahead of next week’s Stockton Sparkles launch night. They include a 50 ft Christmas Tree, a walk-through bauble and a huge reindeer which is sitting majestically on top of the Shambles Market Hall – all helping to transform the High Street into a magical winter wonderland.
For further information about shopping and the on-going redevelopment of Stockton Town Centre visit www.rediscoverstockton.co.uk
PICTURED (above): Stockton Council’s Head of Regeneration and Economic Development and member of Stockton Town Team, Richard Poundford, High Street Minister Penny Mordaunt MP and Joanna Wake of Raw Marketing and a member of Stockton Town Team outside the Rediscover Stockton shop.