Details on the North East high streets set for a £6m boost will be revealed at the next meeting of the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) abinet

North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll said the investment would help people in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland weather the “perfect storm” of the cost-of-living crisis and the pandemic. It is hoped the funding package signed off by the NTCA in March will create more than 200 jobs, with the cash used to help local traders, bring empty buildings back into use, and to develop long-term plans to boost footfall and turn around the fortunes of struggling areas.

Mayor Jamie Driscoll in front of a car

North of Tyne mayor Jamie Driscoll said: “The cost of living crisis will have potentially devastating consequences for our high streets, already reeling from the pandemic. Families are spending over a thousand pounds a year more to buy the same food and energy. That means millions less spent in our shops, pubs, theatres, and restaurants. Our high streets need serious help. It means thinking beyond cosmetic improvements like hanging baskets and pedestrian walkways. Our new High Street Challenge scheme will help to support our town centres to weather this perfect storm and transform them for the better, for the future.”

£1.9m will be given to the local councils in each area to hand out. Projects could include the permanent repurposing of vacant buildings or unused spaces, the creation of new parks, and support for pop-ups and events. The delivery arrangements for the projects in Ashington, the Inner East of Newcastle and Wallsend are expected to be finalised over the Summer.