Shopping streets in towns across Surrey are set to benefit from a new £3 million fund launched by the county council.
The authority is making up to £750,000 available annually for boroughs and districts to improve secondary shopping centres.
They will be able to put it towards retail areas beyond the centres of large towns or shopping streets in smaller ones.
A project to improve Leatherhead’s Church Street is the first to benefit with county council deputy leader Peter Martin approving funding of £200,000 for Mole Valley to improve paving and lighting as well as install seats and plant trees as part of the Transform Leatherhead initiative, which is in the third stage of a consultation.
The news comes after leader David Hodge unveiled a scheme that will allow traders and community groups to bid for a share of £250,000 annually over the next four years to spruce up village centres and local shopping parades.
Mr Martin said: “Local businesses and shops are the lifeblood of every community so hopefully this planned scheme will be the first of many we support in towns the length and breadth of Surrey.
“While money’s tight because of rising demand for services such as adult social care, there are still plenty of smaller things that we can do that make a big difference to people’s daily lives – and schemes like this benefit both traders and shoppers as well as the local economy.”
Howard Jones, Executive Member for Town Centres at Mole Valley District Council, said: “The council committed £500,000 and considerable time and effort to this project. We are coming to the close of a three stage consultation which has had high levels of response. The Draft Masterplan will go before the Executive in the near future.
“The Church Street redevelopment scheme is the first Transform Leatherhead project. It is a wonderful sign of the project’s credibility that both Surrey County Council and the Coast to Capital LEP are each contributing around £200,000 to this scheme. We look forward to working with both of these partners as Transform Leatherhead proceeds further.”