new look for high street

A village high street in Newcastle-under-Lyme will be given a £100,000 makeover thanks to funding from Renew North Staffordshire.

Improvements will be carried out to housing, shops and the environment in Knutton as part of a major refurbishment of the area.

Renew North Staffordshire is a Government funded programme to regenerate the housing market in the area. Partners include Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and Aspire Housing.

A total of nine shops and residential properties will undergo rendering works to enhance their appearance.

Meanwhile, a number of buildings will be repainted, car parking created and trees planted.

The scheme will be delivered by contractors and apprentices from PM Training – the Aspire Group’s social enterprise business that tackles worklessness among young people.

The work will begin before Christmas and is scheduled to be completed in the spring.

Will Nixon, Aspire Group Director of Regeneration and Chief Executive of PM Training, said: “This scheme involves a series of improvements that will complement the major investment that has already taken place to improve Knutton.

“Shopkeepers are a vital part of the local community. This work will help to make their businesses more attractive and will complement the award-winning work to renovate the distinctive heritage terraces near the shops.

“Because the work will be carried out by trainees from PM Training, it will also help to provide young people with skills they can use to get jobs.”

Part of the development includes a small row of locally-owned shops.

Janet Pickerill, owner of Knutton Village Store, said: “I have been very involved in the plans for the development. Aspire Housing took time to consult with residents and shopkeepers to create something that will improve the area and boost business.

“We have already seen some positive changes around here and I am really looking forward to seeing the latest improvements.”

Around £25 million has been invested in Knutton and Cross Heath over the past six years to clear unsuitable houses, build new homes and improve the environment.

Cllr. Robin Studd, Cabinet member for regeneration and planning at Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, added: “Knutton has undergone a major transformation in recent years and this work will enhance the environment even further.

“The borough council is committed to working with partners to improve residents’ quality of life.”