A MARKET town is set to benefit from £500,000 of investment in heritage-style street lighting and improved access to the Town Hall and war memorial.

Stockton Borough and Yarm Town Councils have worked together to come up with the plan for the improvements, which are intended to complement the recently announced plans to create two new long-stay car parks near the town’s High Street.

Town council chairman Councillor Peter Monck, said: “This is obviously a big investment in Yarm. For us it's great that Stockton Council is investing in enhancing the town and in particular, the area around the Town Hall which is the centrepiece.

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“We have worked very closely with the Council to move these works forward and to plan them in a way that keeps disruption to a minimum. These are high quality improvements using high quality materials and we look forward to seeing the results.”

Work to install the new street lighting columns and short-stay pay and display meters on the High Street is due to start in March and is expected to last around six weeks.

While work to improve the paving and lighting around Yarm’s Town Hall and war memorial is scheduled to get under way in April and due for completion in July.

Councillor Mike Smith, Stockton Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and transport, said: “We have planned these works very carefully alongside Yarm Town Council, the Chamber of Trade and the Showmen’s Guild.

“As a result, we have been able to make arrangements to ensure minimal disruption to Yarm Gala and programme the works so they will be complete before the town’s First World War centenary commemorations in August.

“We will be cleaning the town’s war memorial in time for those events and installing new lighting to illuminate the Town Hall in spectacular style at night. The new paving there will improve disabled access and help people with prams and pushchairs.

“All of these works will be sympathetic to the High Street’s unique character and attractive environment. There will inevitably be some disruption but we will keep people informed and do all that we can to keep it to a minimum.”

The new street lighting will be complemented by enhanced CCTV coverage of the High Street area, improving community safety.

Information about the works will go on display in Yarm Library in the coming weeks.