New team will tackle town retail challenge

Ilan Goldman, chairman of the Town Team and (below) Debbs Lancelott, Houndshill manager.
Ilan Goldman, chairman of the Town Team and (below) Debbs Lancelott, Houndshill manager.
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A Town Team made up of key stakeholders has been set up to boost retail in Blackpool.

Members range from Houndshill Centre manager Debbs Lancelott to representatives of Merlin and Abingdon Street Market.

Debbs Lancelott, Houndshill manager

Debbs Lancelott, Houndshill manager

They hope their brain-storming sessions will turn up new ideas to boost the town centre.

The group also aims to work alongside council bosses and the Blackpool Business Improvement District (BID).

It is another strand of the town centre strategy launched by Blackpool Council.

Ilan Goldman, European director for Catalyst Capital which owns the Houndshill Centre, is Town Team chairman and says the idea evolved out of the Portas’ high street review.

He said: “We thought if we could bring enough people together who are senior stake-holders in Blackpool and who are passionate about the town, we can help to improve it.

“We have identified two main issues – the need to develop early evening trade, and multiple ownerships within the town centre which makes it very difficult to improve those properties.”

The Town Team has also played a key role in establishing a new loans initiative, using £100,000 from the high street innovation fund topped up by council funding.

It is hoped this could be harnessed to help shops with refurbishments or to install better quality shop fronts.

But it is the small things they hope to change too.

Mr Goldman said: “It might just be pointing out an area that needs painting, or phone boxes which have no use other than as a toilet and so would be better off being removed.

“These are all simple things which can be done to improve our high street.”

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