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Council launches £1m fund to boost local shopping parades and village centres

A £1 million fund to boost local shopping parades and village centres across Surrey has been unveiled by the county council.

Leader David Hodge has created the fund to help spruce up areas around local convenience shops, greengrocers, newsagents, cafes and other stores people use daily.

Traders and community groups can make bids for a share of the £250,000 available annually to rebuild pavements, install benches and provide better lighting.

Bike racks, litter bins and hanging baskets are among other schemes that could also benefit from the fund.

The initiative is being introduced as part of the Community Improvements Fund, which has another £500,000 pot of cash earmarked for this year to support people’s efforts to improve their local community.

An outdoor gym near Stoneleigh, a community shop at Strood Green and a skate park at Puttenham are among the projects that have been awarded cash since its launch in 2011.

Surrey leader Mr Hodge (pictured) said: “Whether it’s a project to resurface pavements outside stores, a scheme that smartens up a local precinct or an initiative to provide better streetlighting, this new fund can help to ensure local shops continue to play an integral part in daily life.

“Despite money being tight because of growing demand for services such as adult social care, even a small amount of cash can make a big difference to local life – and that’s why we’re also continuing to offer our community fund which has already brought about lasting improvements in neighbourhoods across Surrey.”

Bids for local shopping centre schemes can be made for between £5,000 and £30,000. For the community improvements fund, groups can request between £10,000 and £30,000

All bids will then be considered by a panel of councillors. The deadline for applications for the panel’s first meeting is 15 July.

Information about the bidding criteria and an application form can be found on the council’s website.

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