Businesses advocate using the Earlestown Leveling Up fund ‘wisely’

Business owners and locals urge Earlestown’s latest Leveling Up fund to be used ‘wisely’ as businesses struggle with costs.

Earlestown secured £20m from the Government’s Leveling Up Fund to revitalize the town center with key projects aimed at attracting more visitors to the area.

Changes to Earlestown’s railway station and the redevelopment of the town’s historic market square are among the projects planned for Earlestown.

READ > Plans for Earlestown station revealed following the success of Leveling Up

However, locals and business owners have voiced their opinions on the successful bid as they hope the grant will boost the business scene.

Lee Kenwright, manager of Two Dogs Tattoo Art, has lived in Newton-le-Willows all his life and hopes the funding secured will be used ‘wisely’.

St. Helens Star: Rental rates are an issue for potential new businesses in the areaRental rates are an issue for potential new businesses in the area (Image: St Helens Star)

Lee said, “I think new and different businesses will give this city a massive boost; if they spend the money wisely, it will be good.

“There are so many shops here that are closed or closed today.

“People who are still in business now, fair game to them.”

The number of business closures and store closures on some weekdays is also a problem in the region.

St. Helens Star: A number of shops on Market Street had their shutters downA number of shops on Market Street had their shutters down (Image: St Helens Star)

St Helens Star: Locals are hoping the £20m fund will help strengthen the city centreLocals are hoping the £20m fund will help strengthen the city centre (Image: St Helens Star)

Sandra and Elaine, Project Freedom volunteers, also shared their thoughts on downtown renewal.

St. Helens Star: The charity shop sees its busiest time on market daysThe charity shop sees its busiest days on market days (Image: St Helens Star)

The pair have lived in Earlestown all their lives and are unsure of what changes are planned for the historic town center markets.

Sandra said: “It’s a traditional market; we don’t want it to develop and have half of the market taken away from it. You should leave it as it is – we’ve been a market town for hundreds of years, so why modernize it?

“The market attracts people because our busiest days are Friday and Saturday.”

Funky Bunch florist owner Pamela Lewis is left with just about £50 a week for her and her son to live on while the rest of her wages go towards bills and increased flower costs.

Pamela is delighted with Earlestown’s successful bid and believes that funding for the town center regeneration will help business and attract more visitors to the area.

Pamela said: “It would be absolutely amazing; it would be good to introduce new companies here too. Hopefully this will bring more people back to the city.

“The market is a good thing for the city with so many people coming from different areas.”

St Helens Star: The business owner believes Earlestown's regeneration will benefit the town center and its businessesThe business owner believes Earlestown’s regeneration will benefit the town center and its businesses (Image: St Helens Star)

The business owner also explained the difficulties in keeping her business running as she relies on calendar events to keep the florist open.

She added: “It’s very quiet, everyone on the street feels the same.

“Flowers are luxury items, so people don’t buy bouquets.

“I’ve had to increase my prices over the last six months because flowers have gotten so expensive; I don’t know what I’m going to do with Valentine’s Day because everything has gone up so much.

“It’s my passion, but it affects me massively because I don’t get paid anymore; it goes to bills.

“It’s discouraging and very stressful, I keep putting in more and more hours for no money.”

https://www.sthelensstar.co.uk/news/23276430.businesses-plea-earlestown-levelling-fund-used-wisely/?ref=rss Businesses advocate using the Earlestown Leveling Up fund ‘wisely’

Brian Ashcraft

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