Council calls for Government to back town centre managers

By on 27/06/2011 in News

Just days after the launch of an independent Government review of the high street, to be led by 'Queen of Shops' Mary Portas, Birmingham City Council has urged national politicians to back local centres by reintroducing funding for much needed town centre managers.

 Originally funded by the Government through the WNF (Working Neighbourhood Fund) town centre managers (TCMs) were first established in Birmingham in 2008.

 In total 10 managers, eight directly managed by the Council and two by local public/business partnerships, were created up to April 2011, when central funding ceased with the closure of the WNF programme.

 The City Council was able to secure temporary funding to keep council managed TCMs in place for a further six months, and is now appealing to Government for further funding to help secure their long term future.

 Timothy Huxtable, Cabinet Member for Transport, Environment and Regeneration at Birmingham City Council, said he will now write to Portas in her capacity as lead of the review to lobby for TCM funding to be continued. He added:

 “There is little doubt that the town centre manager scheme has been a great success over recent years, giving traders a common voice and driving forward tangible improvements to local centres across the city.

 “Working directly to the specific communities they serve, managers have built amazing relationships with and between traders and residents on their individual patches, in a way only possible with a dedicated resource operating day-to-day 'on the ground'.

 “We hope during her visit to Birmingham, and throughout her ongoing review across the country, Mary realises the crucial role TCMs are already playing in helping local centres, and can feed back to Government how crucial it is that we continue to support and expand their roles moving forward.

 “While there is clearly pressure on all Government budgets, I hope the review will conclude that this is one area where continued spending is clearly justified through the jobs, economic wealth and community improvements it will directly create.”

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