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Group urges council to match private cash
A BUSINESS group working to improve “an area of missed opportunities” is calling on the council to match private investment in Acomb.
Founded 12 months ago, Acomb Alive! is made up of traders in the area who teamed together to improve business and attract more people to the retail precinct.
Following investment from local landlords in improving the look of the area, and from businesses in staging community events, the group has been lobbying City of York Council to match their efforts, and invest in improving Acomb.
Tomorrow the council’s Cabinet will determine an application from Acomb Business Team, made up of representatives from Acomb Alive! and the council’s economic development team, seeking funding from the authority’s Economic Infrastructure Fund (EIF) to the sum of £30,000.
The grant will see £24,000 spent on “hard infrastructure” and “the provision of a higher quality public realm”, with £6,000 spent on kickstarting an events programme.
The idea is that the improvements to street furniture and the pedestrian area will then pave the way for businesses to invest in a programme of community projects such as street markets, to generate more footfall.
Sue Hunter, chairman of Acomb Alive, said: “It is good news that the council wants to work with us, as over the year we have grown to draw in more traders in the Acomb area.
“We recognise with things like the Portas Report that the High Street needs to evolve to take into account internet and out of town shopping.
“People still want to see a flourishing shopping area, but want diversity, quality, and variety of activities So I hope that the cabinet approve the proposals.”
Acomb Alive secretary Andrew Waller added: “Tackling the issue of empty shops was the driver for establishing Acomb Alive!
“It has been good to see the recent renovation of buildings, and reopening of businesses like Inn on the Green and we want to encourage more revitalisation in the area – at the end of the day you can’t get your hair cut on-line.”
Cabinet is being recommended to approve the spend from the EIF which to date has invested £17.7 million in improvement projects across York.
In a report to cabinet the funding bid states: “The case of Acomb is ultimately one of missed opportunities as wards surrounding it are relatively affluent, with most residents simply opting to shop elsewhere rather than frequenting the closer offer of Acomb.
“Currently, the existing public realm has suffered significant deterioration without repair for a number of years.
“To match the Council’s investment, Acomb Alive! are developing a 12 month programme of events and activities that will attract increased levels of footfall to the area, making the most of the new hard infrastructure.”
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