WITH the news that Redcar town will be transformed after being awarded £25 million to improve the town centre.

Local businesses will be key to Redcar’s success and have been heavily involved in developing the plan.

The Northern Echo spoke to local independent businesses in the town to see what their thoughts were.

Many agreed that the town centre needed improving but opinions varied on how to tackle the problems.

Kirsty Smith of Miss Lily’s said: “They need more things to do in the town, the seafront is lovely but the highstreet needs improving a lot.

“There is more attraction on the seafront, there is not much reason for people to come on to the high street.

“They should think why people want to come here, and upgrade what we have got, like the boating lake.

“I also think they should knock down the empty shops, some of them will never be occupied again because of asbestos so instead of keeping them, looking like a blight on the town, they should knock them down.

“Most of them are owned by people who don’t live in the town, so they don’t know how much the empty shop is hurting the town.”

The Northern Echo:

Janet Dack owner of the Clock Gallery said: “The high street is run down and in need of a shake-up of its visual appearance.

“When the weather is nice the people come out and shop but most of the time it is dead.

“This is because there is nothing in the town to make it a destination.

“We need something on the high street to attract people, if we don’t people will just look for alternative places.

“If you live in Skelton or East Cleveland you will go to the Asda or Morrisons for your groceries, anything else, like clothes shopping, you will go to Middlesbrough or Teesside Park.”

The Northern Echo:

Gail Leggette from the Get Book Store said: “ “They need to put up a sign to tell people what is here and where to go, and to promote them.

“We have the lifeboat museum, but no one knows where it is because the signs are so poor.

“We also used to have trees on the high street which looked quite good, then the council took them all away.

“The trees make the high street better and they also provide shade on hot days.

“I really hope the money is used wisely and not wasted, we have a good high street but we need to attract more independent businesses.

The Northern Echo:

Some businesses at the top of the high street feel left out and hope that the money will benefit them as well as the rest of the town.

Andrew Paton of Redcar Models and Hobbies said: “A lot of businesses are promoted down the Regents end of the high street, where it is pedestrianised.

“However, there are a lot of good shops on the Claxon Hotel end of the high street, that seem to get forgotten.

“We should have some signage to tell people what’s down here.

“I think they should turn the empty stores into something useful like an amusement arcade and more independent shops.

“We had a lot of money put into the seafront, the beacon might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it got people talking.

“They need to get people talking about the high street, that’s why we need something here.”

Not everyone was positive, some thought the money was a waste and not enough to do real improvements.

A spokesperson from Mr Vape said: “The money won’t fix anything at all, there is not enough money in the world to help.

“Also where do you start? What’s the plan?

“I think they should look to attract better people into town.”