Claims Blackpool shopfront scheme ‘unfair for some traders’

Topping Street is part of the scheme
Topping Street is part of the scheme
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A £1m pot of cash to improve shopfronts in parts of Blackpool town centre has already attracted 20 expressions of interest.

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The scheme, launched last month, is open to traders in Topping Street, Deansgate, Edward Street, and parts of Church Street and Talbot Road.

Successful applicants can use it to improve the fronts of their properties in order to make key town centre streets more attractive.

But some councillors have claimed the scheme is unfair to businesses which have already invested in their properties.

Conservative group leader Coun Tony Williams told a meeting of the full council: “It has been said to me by a few people, what about people who have been sensible and already invested in their shopfronts?

“I don’t think it’s fair for people who have been investing in their properties with their own funds.”

Coun Maxine Callow said the council had to make sure it was giving the money to the right people.

She said: “Have we thought some of these properties could be owned by multi-millionaire companies, some of which could be based abroad.

“We don’t want to be subsidising multi-millionaires.”

Deputy council leader Coun Gillian Campbell said the aim was to improve streets close to the new conference centre which is being built.

She said: “If people have invested already, there may be less call on the money and we may then be able to go out to other streets with it.”

Blackpool Council is providing up to £100,000 of the funding, with the rest coming from the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership.