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Friday, 25 July 2014

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Teams to boost West Cumbrian towns

Town centres across the Allerdale district are about to get a boost, without the help of TV shopping expert Mary Portas.

Allerdale council has announced that it is setting up town teams to regenerate Workington, Maryport, Cockermouth, Aspatria and Wigton.

Joe Broomfield, Allerdale council officer, said there will be two teams and two town centre managers.

The urban team will focus on the Maryport and Workington districts.

A rural team will lead initiatives in the Cockermouth, Aspatria and Wigton areas.

Each town centre will have its own strategic plan put together by a town centre manager, working with members of the public and other interested parties.

The strategy will deal with everything from litter and dog fouling to the appearance of the town centre, shop fronts and the type of shops and activities required to attract shoppers.

Maryport recently missed out on a bid to become a Government pilot, aimed at regenerating its main shopping area, spearheaded by shopping expert Ms Portas.

Mr Broomfield said the Portas decision was disappointing, but he believed the council’s determination to focus on town centres would be just as valuable.

Mr Broomfield, 31, will take over one of the town centre roles, although which one has yet to be decided. The second position is being advertised.

He has previously worked on regeneration issues for Allerdale council, with responsibility for town heritage initiatives in Maryport and Workington, restoring eyesore buildings.

Claire Driver, who yesterday left her role as previous Maryport and Workington town centre manager, said she felt she had been able to build some strong partnerships in the towns.

She said the council initiative would enable event organisers to deal with one council team.

She said: “We will also co-ordinate events. We will try and ensure that major events do not clash, so that each area can make the best of their opportunities.

“We would try and avoid, for instance, the situation that has arisen in the past where both Maryport and Cockermouth are turning on their Christmas lights on the same day.”

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