Residents and businesses are being asked for their views on how a multi-million pound investment fund should be spent to improve Redcar town centre.

Like many other high streets, Redcar needs to innovate to stay competitive as shopping patterns change due to increases in online shopping and out of town retail outlets.

The closure of SSI in 2015 created an economic shock in the local economy, which has hit Redcar hard. The loss of well-paid steel jobs has had a dramatic impact on this particular town centre.

In December, Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council announced an £8million package of investment across the area, with £1million specifically being committed to Redcar town centre.

This is being supported by £5million from central government allocated specifically for Redcar as part of the multi-million pound support fund secured by the SSI Task Force.

Following a community meeting with MP Anna Turley, local businesses, retailers and residents about the High Street, a series of proposals have been drawn up about how the money will be used.

The council now wants people to give their views.

The plans include turning empty properties into vibrant retail and business spaces, and attracting visitors and new investors by improving the marketing and promotion of the town. The plans will also encourage more people to live in the town to help the centre flourish.

The consultation opens on the council’s website from Monday 23 January so that people can feedback online. Two consultation events will also be held during February.

Minister of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Nick Hurd has been visiting the area today to find out more about the work following the closure of SSI. The Minister also confirmed the handover of the final element of the Task Force funding – £5million.

Amanda Skelton, Chair of the SSI Task Force and Chief Executive of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council said: “The long-term ambition of the Task Force has always been to help to stimulate the economy and help the Tees Valley to recover.

“We will continue to support those most directly affected by the closure of SSI but it is now right that we focus more on creating jobs and prosperity to leave a positive lasting legacy.

“This multi-million pound package will help make a real difference to the economy and vibrancy of Redcar town centre.

“So far the Task Force funds have helped create over 1,000 new jobs, safeguarded over 400 jobs and helped almost 250 new businesses get off the ground.

“This is just the latest announcement of long-term support from the Task Force and there will be more to come.”

Councillor Sue Jeffrey, Leader of Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council said: “Redcar town centre has been hit hard by the closure of SSI.

“Just weeks ago, we announced an ambitious £8million investment programme for all our town centres so that we can encourage job creation and attract more visitors through better promotion of the borough as a tourism destination.

“£1million has also been allocated to Eston, Loftus, Guisborough and Saltburn, £2million will be invested in our industrial estates and £1million will be spent on improving local neighbourhoods.

“The borough has a really exciting future and I am looking forward to working with the community to turn our ideas into a reality.”

Anna Turley MP for Redcar said: “It is fantastic news that through the Task Force we have secured this new investment. Alongside the funding the council has already committed across our borough, this is a much needed boost to revive the fortunes of our town and will help us to rebuild.

“It was clear from the public meeting that people in the local community have the enthusiasm and the ideas to make this a real success. The council’s consultation will build on that and help guide the Task Force on how this money should be spent. We need as many people as possible to get involved and have their say.”