TWO North-East towns have won £300,000 of Government cash to help transform their town centres.

Stockton and Darlington have won the cash to develop plans to renew and reshape their town centres and high streets ahead of the next round in the Government's Future High Streets Fund. Stockton's bid also includes Yarm High Street.

Darlington’s plans include the creation of an enclosed, glazed winter garden on the eastern side of its Victorian Indoor Market hall, with new food and drink outlets also developed.

The local authorities have now been invited to submit full businesses cases to the fund, to secure further capital funding for their projects.

The successful bids will be announced by spring 2020.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “I’m delighted that Government has chosen to award this funding, from what was a very competitive and oversubscribed process. This great news, announced by Local Growth Minister Jake Berry MP, shows a real commitment to our centres at a time when they need it most.

“I’ve already pledged to help each of our five boroughs, with £50million earmarked in our Investment Plan to help deliver schemes that will revitalise our communities.

“With both that funding and further Government backing, we can continue to attract and retain the businesses our towns need to thrive and encourage even more people to these spaces. This will, in turn, drive up the visitor spend, boosting our economy while making Tees Valley an even more dynamic and vibrant place to live and do business.”

Cllr Heather Scott, Leader of Darlington Borough Council, said: “I’m incredibly happy that we were successful in our bid and Government sees potential in our plans.

“Our market is a well-loved landmark and a key part of the fabric of our town. We’ve got to do everything we can to set Darlington apart to attract people from all over Tees Valley and further afield. Our winter garden will give us a fantastic family space which will do just that.”

Stockton Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Housing, Councillor Nigel Cooke, said: “We are thrilled to hear that our bid has been given the green light

“However, there is still a way to go and over the coming months we will work hard on developing our bid further."

He said the council already pledged to borrow £30m to transform its town centres.

“We know that if our town centres are going to survive we need to make sure they change and adapt," he said.