Scunthorpe town centre campaigner says £60m council plan will not solve current issues
Keep Scunthorpe Alive campaign group chairman Des Comerford, pictured on Scunthorpe High Street
By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 14 Jul 2017
A Scunthorpe town centre campaigner has said he feels a £60 million regeneration scheme will not solve issues which currently affect the area.
Des Comerford, chairman of the Keep Scunthorpe Alive organisation, spoke following the announcement by North Lincolnshire Council of a range of projects designed to increase the number of people and businesses in the town centre and in particular, in the Church Square area.
The planned £60 million-plus investment, to be delivered over the next five years, is set to include a new £15 million university centre, a £14.7 million 200-unit facility for NHS employees and a £3.9 million scheme to provide up to 60 homes on Lindum Street, among other projects.
It marks a bid by the council to transform the town centre, where more than 30 retail units currently stand empty.
But Mr Comerford, who owns the Fallen Hero fashion shop on the High Street, said he did not think the council's plans were the right ones for the future of the area.
He said: "Investment for a town centre is ok but this is not investment in a town centre, it is investment in a small area, Church Square, which is totally isolated from the main retail sector.
"It is ok building offices and universities, and I welcome more staff and students in the town centre to hopefully spend their disposable income, but we need to concentrate on cleaning the town up, making it safer and getting rid of anti-social behaviour. Then, we might be in a position to attract quality retailers.
"Before that is done, nothing will happen and nobody will want to come into this town as retailers.
"I speak to a lot of members of the public who come into our shop or who don't and most people tell me they don't come into town because of the reasons I have just cited."
North Lincolnshire Council leader Rob Waltham and the council's executive director commercial Simon Green, pictured at the launch of a proposed £60 million investment into Scunthorpe town centre
Announcing the investment plans, council leader Rob Waltham said the projects would "transform the town and create a vibrant and thriving place where people will want to live, work, study, invest, visit and spend their leisure time".
Mr Waltham said the plans aimed to create a "centre for learning and business", as well as giving people the "opportunity to work in this fantastic town".
He said: "To enable that to happen, we are creating more business opportunities - including retail and leisure. Already, we have seen a rise in the number of investment enquiries interested in the town centre."