Dear Sir,
I’m grateful to the Newtonian who wrote in your last edition about the importance of our town centre (‘Whatever Happened to…’).
Growing up in Aycliffe in the 80’s and 90’s, I have happy memories of a bustling town centre, full of independent businesses. Harry Harding’s toy shop was always top of my list. And we’d spend hours in the school holidays, with my Granny, going from stall to stall on market day, as she seemed to know every trader!
Times have changed. But with strong political and community leadership, other town centres have found new life and reinvented themselves. Aycliffe Town Centre needs urgent attention from the county council and government to help it adapt for the future.
Last week we launched Labour’s plan for high streets – replacing business rates with a fairer system, 13,000 more community police and community support officers, guaranteed face-to-face banking, stamping out late payments to protect small traders and powers for communities to revamp empty shops. Taken together, these policies would help, but it’s local leadership that’s the key. If elected as our Member of Parliament, championing a better future for our town centre would be a top priority.
I’m also pleased to hear the resident is keen to get in touch. We speak to hundreds of residents every week on the doorstep and residents regularly contact me by post, email and social media. We’ll be adding a campaign hotline soon and opening a campaign centre nearer the election.
Alan Strickland,
Labour Candidate for Newton Aycliffe & Spennymoor.