Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen has welcomed £300,000 of Government cash to help transform two of the region’s town centres.
Darlington and Stockton will each benefit from up to £150,000 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Streets Fund.
The cash will be used to help the town’s Local Authorities develop plans to renew and reshape their high streets and town centres, with applications to the fund previously endorsed by the mayor.
Darlington’s plans include the creation of an enclosed, glazed winter garden on the eastern side of its Victorian Indoor Market hall, with new food and drink outlets also developed.
The Local Authorities have now be invited to submit full businesses cases to the fund, to secure further capital funding for their projects. The successful bids will be announced by spring 2020.
Mayor Houchen said: “I’ve been championing these bids from Darlington and Stockton and I’m delighted that Government has chosen to award this funding, from what was a very competitive and oversubscribed process.
“This great news, announced by Local Growth Minister Jake Berry MP, shows a real commitment to our centres at a time when they need it most.
“I’ve already pledged to help each of our five boroughs, with £50m earmarked in our Investment Plan to help deliver schemes that will revitalise our communities.
“With both that funding and further Government backing, we can continue to attract and retain the businesses our towns need to thrive and encourage even more people to these spaces.
“This will, in turn, drive up the visitor spend, boosting our economy while making Tees Valley an even more dynamic and vibrant place to live and do business.”
Cllr Heather Scott, leader of Darlington Council, said: “I’m incredibly happy that we were successful in our bid and Government sees potential in our plans.
“Our market is a well-loved landmark and a key part of the fabric of our town. We’ve got to do everything we can to set Darlington apart to attract people from all over Tees Valley and further afield. Our winter garden will give us a fantastic family space which will do just that.”