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Business boost in offing for Acomb Front Street

Front Street in Acomb could soon be benefiting from business rates relief if a council motion gets the green light tonight.

Labour Westfield Councillor Steve Burton will propose a motion to Thursday's Full Council meeting calling for the extension of business rates relief for those bringing empty shops back into use.

He said:

“Although Front Street currently has fewer empty units than it did in 2011, it still has more than we would like.  We are committed to helping it become more vibrant, diverse and attractive to local residents when deciding where they shop.  My motion asks for options to be brought forward on business rates relief to see if the council can provide an extra boost to get more empty units back into use.

“The impact of internet shopping and a fragile economic recovery means improving the fortunes of shopping streets in the hearts of our communities away from the city centre is hard won, but with a bit of help we believe Front Street can become increasingly popular as a shopping destination, for people on the west side of the city in particular”.

The initiative, if agreed, would follow recent improvements including the introduction of new benches, removal of old street furniture to declutter and new flower tubs.

Other exploratory work is underway on a proposal to install a street level electricity supply to support market stalls and street entertainment.

Acomb ward councillor Tracey Simpson-Laing commented:

“Front Street is a focal point for the local community in Acomb and it’s important that people see it as not only somewhere they want to shop but to meet people and socialise. I hope that Members of all parties will see the benefit of this motion as extending rate relief will provide an added stimulus to the economy in this part of this city”.

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