Newton Aycliffe town centre could soon be home to a whole host of new start up retailers selling anything from children’s ware, handmade beauty products, to pet accessories and men’s clothing.
A social enterprise based south of the region have been invited by the MP for Sedgefield Phil Wilson to develop a proposal based on the pilot scheme they ran on behalf of Stockton borough council which saw 54 new retail business started in a year in Stockton on Tees.
The proposal being developed will support first time retailers to try out a new business idea, by giving them support, mentoring, training and easy access retail space in Newton Aycliffe Town centre.
The town centre has undergone significant improvements over the last few years.  The unsightly concrete ramp and oppressive shop canopies have been removed and new paving, seating and a spiral staircase have been installed.
New retailers, including Aldi and Wilko’s, have opened stores and existing businesses have been encouraged to expand. There are also other high street retailers who are negotiating space within the centre and a number of the retail units have now been taken. Last year the centre won an award for the most improved town centre.
Phil Wilson says “I was particularly impressed when I heard about the scheme in Stockton and how it had helped retail development in the borough. Business and enterprise is important to me, as is having a diverse and vibrant town centre.  The town centre management have been working very hard to bring in new business and turn the town centre around over the last few years and the improvements have been tremendous.  Now residents want more shops and I believe this scheme will complement the town centre’s growing and forthcoming offer.
It will also give local people the chance to try out a new retail idea which could eventually become a liveliehood for them. Supporting small and new business will be a priority for a forthcoming Labour government. It is important we have an economy that works for the many and as such these type of initiatives are welcomed”
The project is in early development stage but the idea is being welcomed by town councillors, residents and existing retailers.
Bryan Haladane from Freshwater said “The owners of Aycliffe Shopping Centre fully support will work closely with Phil Wilson and his  team to promote this effort to bring new business offers into the town  centre.”