Sunderland’s retail economy could receive a shot in the arm after the city was included in a high street regeneration programme.
Business bosses are celebrating after it was announced Sunderland is one of 34 new areas selected in the Healthy High Streets programme.
This really is fantastic news for Sunderland, especially as it comes soon after the BID being founded.Sunderland BID chief executive, Ken Dunbar
The scheme, set up by Business In The Community (BITC) in June 2014, aims to increase footfall on high streets by 10% and reduce the number of vacant properties by 20%.
The Healthy High Streets programme, which also aims to create new jobs in 100 towns and cities over three years, is backed by some of the UK’s biggest retail names, including Boots, Marks & Spencer, Santander, Greggs and the Co-operative Group.
As one of the new cities chosen, Sunderland will enjoy the support of dedicated “High Street Champions” from supporting businesses who will work with the local authority and partners, to devise an action plan to help the area.
Sunderland BID chief executive, Ken Dunbar, said: “This really is fantastic news for Sunderland, especially as it comes soon after the BID being founded.
“Securing a place in the Healthy High Street programme will bring yet more partners closer to the planning and co-ordination of projects, that will help to revitalise the city centre and create much-needed vibrancy.
“I’m looking forward to working with BITC and its key partners in the delivery of the Healthy High Street programme, to enhance the impact of the BID’s work.”
Since being set up, the Healthy High Street programme has brought support and resources worth £9million from its corporate partners into 33 UK high streets.
Robin Foale, managing director of Santander Business Banking and chairman of the Healthy High Streets programme, said: “This is a great opportunity to work with the business partners and the local High Street Champions, to transform the city and create a thriving, vibrant centre for the local community.”