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Town centre partnership role to be extended for 12 months after £34k spend agreed

By Kerry Ashdown | Cannock | Business | Published:

Work to boost Cannock town centre is set to continue for another year after councillors agreed to spend more than £34,000 on extending an officer role.

Cannock town centre

Cannock Town Centre Partnership (CTCP) was formed last year and has already been hailed a success by a council leader.

Cannock Chase Council hosts a town centre partnership officer, who is funded by money received from the Mill Green development, to support the group.

The current funding for the officer role is due to end in May 2020, but on Wednesday cabinet members agreed to spend £34,500 on extending it for a further 12 months – again using money from the Mill Green funding pot.

In the past 12 months work to boost Cannock town centre has included the production of an investment prospectus to highlight opportunities in the area to businesses, the trial of a rewards scheme for shoppers, improvements to the markets and promotional events and festivals including those planned by the Cannock Traders’ Association.

A cabinet report said: “The CTCP was formed in November 2018 and whilst it is too early to fully evaluate how successful the partnership has been to date, there is evidence that it is moving in the right direction.

“The CTCP Board have taken the decision to establish the partnership as a Community Interest Company (CIC) led by a board of 12 members and a new chair and vice-chair are in place. The CTCP is working to establish itself and is focusing on organising events in the town centre to increase footfall and the visitor experience.

“The CTCP is supported by the TCPO role which is hosted by the council and funded from Section 106 monies received from the Mill Green development. The current funding of the TCPO role is due to expire 31 May 2020 and there are no resources to continue funding this role from council core budgets beyond this date.

“Currently the partnership has not developed a financial strategy to sustain the role at this present time, given the period it has taken to properly establish itself. There is sufficient remaining budget within the existing Mill Green Section 106 account under the town centre improvements category to fund the post for this extended period.

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“It is proposed that by extending the role for a further 12 months this will be sufficiently long enough to give the partnership the opportunity to further establish itself and identify opportunities to become self-sustaining.”

Councillor Gordon Alcott, town centre regeneration portfolio leader, highlighted the work of the town centre partnership at Wednesday’s meeting.

On November 30 the partnership will stage Cannock town centre’s Christmas lights switch on, which will include fair rides and craft stalls from 11am. Santa will arrive in town at 4pm, before meeting youngsters in his grotto from 4.15pm, and the lights will be switched on at 5.15pm, followed by a fireworks display.

There will also be a free lantern and carol parade through the town on December 21 from 4pm to 6pm. Families can make lanterns for the parade at Cannock Library on December 14 from 1pm and those taking part in the parade the following week are asked to assemble in the Asda car park at 4pm.

Council leader George Adamson said: “The town centre partnership set up 12 months ago has been really successful, as Gordon outlined.

“The Christmas events are an example of how active they are and we will give them all the support we can. They are doing well and working hard – all credit to them.”

Kerry Ashdown

By Kerry Ashdown
@KerryAshdownLDR

Local Democracy Reporter covering Staffordshire.

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