TWO of Doncaster’s largest outlying towns could be targeted by Government cash intended to help regenerate high streets.
Mayor of Doncaster Peter Davies wants to direct money at the town centres of Mexborough and Thorne after Doncaster was told it would receive cash under the Government’s High Street Innovation Fund.
The fund is a £10 million Government pot intended to be used for bringing empty shops back into use. The Government wants it to be used to support new business start-ups whilst bringing empty High Street properties back into use.
Mr Davies said he was currently looking to see what strings are attached to use of the money. Doncaster is due to receive £100,000.
Mr Davies said: “This money is being awarded to places including Leeds. I it is being given to areas with successful town centres.
“I don’t yet know what strings are attached, but clearly they are hoping we will encourage local owners of vacant property to get those shops into use.
“I would like to spend this money on Thorne and Mexborough to help revitalise their town centres, and I’m exploring that.”
He said Doncaster town centre already had a successful market which was voted the best in Britain last year and the most popular in the country this year, and has also been described as the fourth most regenerated high street in the country in another survey.
He added: “We have a number of outlying towns in Doncaster which need assistance too, and this may be an opportunity to put some money their way.”
The proposal has been welcomed in both Thorne and Mexborough.
Thorne-Moorends Town Councillor Martin Williams, who has been taking legal advice over what can be done to bring forward improvements to part of Thorne town centre, was pleased with the suggestion.
He is particularly concerned over buildings in Thorne Market Place, including a former chip shop and an former ironmonger’s store.
He said: “If it was £50,000 for each of Thorne and Mexborough, I think we could live with that.
“Let’s get the buildings in Thorne town centre back into use. We want the whole of Thorne town centre sorting out.”
He said he believed cash from the Government may help attract matched funding from other sources.
Sue Phillips, who represents Mexborough on Doncaster Council, said she thought the money would be useful if it targeted the area near to Mexborough market.
She said: “There is definitely a need to bring back into use empty shops in Mexborough. It is one of the principal towns in Doncaster. No one likes to see shops that are shuttered.
“It is not just about shops looking unsightly, it is about trade for the local economy.”