1. ITV Report

Council helps launch dozens of new businesses

Altrincham town centre Photo: itv granada

TRAFFORD Council has helped to launch 37 new town centre businesses - thanks to an interest-free loan scheme.

The Town Centres Business Growth Programme allows firms to borrow up to £20,000 to set up in vacant units in Altrincham, Sale, Stretford or Urmston town centres, or access some extra cash for training or marketing.

The council claims vacancy rates across Trafford’s town centres has fallen by 8.4% per cent since the scheme launched with empty units being bought up.

Town centres have been struggling to attract shoppers Credit: pa

The council will hope Trafford is bucking the trend.

An recent independent review claims bricks-and-mortar retail shops can no longer be the basis for thriving high streets, which must become community hubs that include housing, offices and some shops, according to an influential independent review.

Retail expert Bill Grimsey said it was time to accept there was already too much retail space in the UK.

He said town centres needed to be “repopulated and re-fashioned” with libraries and public spaces at the heart of each community.