Councils in Corby, East Northants, Kettering and Wellingborough given thousands to make shopping safe

Every local authority in England is sharing a £50m pot

By Sam Wildman
Tuesday, 2nd June 2020, 6:00 am
Kettering town centre.
Kettering town centre.

Councils across the north of the county have been given a combined £300,000 to help to re-open our high streets safely.

Footfall in our town centres has been noticeably down since the Covid-19 pandemic started, with shops closed and people urged to stay at home.

But non-essential shops can re-open on June 15 and, with lockdown restrictions easing, people are expected to return to our town centres with new social distancing measures in place.

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Now Corby Council, East Northants Council, Kettering Council, Wellingborough Council and all other councils in England will share a £50m Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government funding pot thanks to the European Union's European Regional Development Fund.

The money will allow local authorities to put in place additional measures to establish a safe trading environment for businesses and customers, particularly in high streets, through measures that extend to the end of March 2021.

The funding, which has been allocated based on each area's population, can be used to support the development of an action plan, for communications and public information, for awareness raising activities and for temporary public realm changes to ensure that re-opening of local economies can be managed successfully and safely. It cannot be used to provide direct financial support to businesses and to replace the source for spending that has already been committed.

Kettering Council received the most money in the north of the county after they were allocated £91,436.

A spokesman for the Conservative-run council said: "We are working on plans to help town centre businesses open safely and for public spaces to be made safe for visitors as they move around.

"We will issue further information as the plans are finalised."

East Northamptonshire Council, which is also controlled by the Conservatives, received just shy of £85,000.

A spokesman said: “East Northamptonshire Council has been awarded £84,908 from the government which will support the reopening of the high street in six towns in East Northamptonshire and ensure businesses are able to open safely, protecting staff and customers.

"There is an established criteria and the council is looking how we can best support our high street businesses with this grant.”

Corby Council, the north of the county's only Labour-run authority, received £64,668.

A spokesman said: "It is welcome news that we have been awarded this funding and we intend to work with local businesses and partners to agree a set of measures to help open up the town centre and shopping parades across the borough safely."

And Wellingborough Council has been given £71,209.

A spokesman said: "Wellingborough Council has been awarded Government funding to support the reopening the reopening our town’s high street.

"This funding will aid businesses ensuring they are able to reopen and adhere to Government guidance by implementing measures to reinforce guidelines and communicate this to staff and visitors.

"The council is currently reviewing options to maximise the benefits this funding can bring to Wellingborough."