Expert ad­vice to cre­ate a health­ier high street

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - News - By Vicky Cas­tle

Ash­ford hopes to see more shops, more shop­pers and more shop­ping in the town cen­tre af­ter be­ing ac­cepted onto an ‘in­ten­sive’ high street im­prove­ment scheme.

Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil (ABC) has a place on the third and fi­nal na­tional Busi­ness in the Com­mu­nity’s Healthy High Streets pro­gramme.

The scheme pro­vides cor­po­rate sup­port through busi­ness ex­per­tise, men­tor­ing, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment plans and re­sources.

Backed by big com­pa­nies such as Boots, Marks & Spencer and San­tander, th­ese busi­ness will col­lab­o­rate with lo­cal town teams to ad­dress a num­ber of con­cerns.

Th­ese in­clude is­sues around empty and un­sightly properties, pri­ori­tis­ing ac­cess and safety, cre­at­ing high pro­file events to drive foot­fall, cre­ate pop-up shops and mar­kets and im­prove cus­tomer ser­vice.

Jo Wynn-Carter, ABC’s re­gen­er­a­tion man­ager, said: “I’m de­lighted that we have been suc­cess­ful and look for­ward to work­ing with the stake­hold­ers in­volved.

“This is a great op­por­tu­nity for our busi­nesses to have this ex­per­tise at their fin­ger­tips and on their doorsteps.

“We have al­ready held our first meet­ing with the part­ners and can­not wait to de­velop ideas to­gether through­out the next 12 months.”

High streets that have pre­vi­ously par­tic­i­pated in the pro­gramme boast a 0.4% in­crease in foot­fall and a 5% drop in empty units.

Busi­ness in the Com­mu­nity, a char­ity headed by Prince Philip, claims the pro­gramme has cre­ated more than 1,700 jobs in 76 towns across the coun­try since it’s launch.

Pic­ture: Paul Amos FM3121080

The High Street

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