East Riding of Yorkshire Council continue to work closely with Driffield Town Council to maximise available funding opportunities to deliver improvements in the town centre and support high street recovery.
The new Umbrella Plaza and street furniture installed in Market Place is the latest in a series of 2021 initiatives, in response to consultation undertaken with businesses and shoppers. The installation is being led by the Town Centre Steering Group with financial and project management support from Driffield Town Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council, through the Government's Welcome Back Funding and a Do it For East Yorkshire Community Grant.
In 2019, East Riding of Yorkshire Council successfully secured funding from the York North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (YNY LEP) and along with a financial contribution from Driffield Town Council, it enabled the development of a Town Centre Action Plan which was published in early 2021. The aim of this plan was to identify ways to improve and safeguard the town centre in the future with more leisure facilities, a better town centre environment and variety of shops and eateries highlighted as priorities.
Driffield Town Council were successful in securing match funding from the East Riding of Yorkshire council's Love Your High Street Fund to appoint a Town Centre Officer, a role that will take lead responsibility on behalf of the Town Council to work with businesses and local stakeholders to promote the town, improve the offer and deliver events.
In addition, the Town Council championed the launch of high street vouchers available to spent in 80 participating businesses and the introduction of a Driffield loyalty card, supported with a financial contribution from the council's Love Your High Street Fund, where users can enter monthly prize draws and be eligible for in-store discounts.
The early signs show that in spite of extremely difficult trading conditions, steady progress is being made with the performance of the town centre. An operator survey conducted by the Retail Group in October 2020 found that 56% of town centre businesses were optimistic about future trading prospects. A combination of new businesses opening in the town centre and long-awaited redevelopment works have also started to address longstanding vacant retail units. The town centre vacancy rate has reduced from 14.9% in December 2020 to 10.6% in July 2021.
Claire Watts, regeneration and funding group manager at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: "The newly installed umbrella plaza and street furniture have really helped with the improvement of Market Place in Driffield and we continue to work hard to maximise funding opportunities in our town centres.
"Driffield continues to benefit from the Town Centre Action Plan and credit must go to the Town Centre Steering Group, Driffield Town Council and our own officers at East Riding of Yorkshire Council for identifying ways to improve and safeguard the town."
Cllr Jane Evison, portfolio holder for economic development and tourism at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: "The work that been done in Driffield has contributed to the vibrancy of the Town Centre. Driffield has been buzzing this summer and the Town Council, local businesses and stakeholders should be commended for their commitment to work with East Riding Council to maximise the funding opportunities to support the high street.
"The local growth team have completed recovery plans for other towns in the East Riding and we encourage stakeholders to work together to deliver the recommendations of their local report."
For further information either of these grants please visit the websites.
Love Your High Street Fund: https://loveyourhighstreet.co.uk/
Do it for East Yorkshire Community Grant: www.doitforEastYorkshire.co.uk