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  • Oliver Hodgson

EXCLUSIVE: Copeland Mayor believes Copeland will come back as strong as ever.

Earlier we spoke with Copeland’s elected mayor Mr Mike Starkie, who strongly believes that Copeland will come back as strong as ever, and he says "the council are working flat-out" and that there is also a major focus on recovery.

Will, you and the council in the near future look at modernising the format of applying for business licenses, to make the process simple and easier for local businesses owners - perhaps looking at an online portal?

“This one hasn’t be been asked before, but we are certainly looking at modernising all processes, as some of the council’s systems are quite aged, we are definitely looking at making a lot more of the processes and applications quicker and more efficient through digital platforms.”

Do you and the council have any plans of looking back at the parking in Whitehaven, perhaps to look at further opportunities to help enhance footfall for the business who have suffered from the coronavirus crisis? 

“At the moment, car parking has been made available and free of charge for those keyworkers. What we are doing is looking at increasing the amount of parking available in the future.”

The Buzz station is making good progress in terms of the build, do you feel this new project in Whitehaven will help with the comeback from the current coronavirus pandemic? 

“Yes, the building itself has stood dilapidated for many years; the new Buzz station is going to be a regeneration hub driving forward the regeneration in the town. The council also has a focus on the recovery from this pandemic and programmes such as the stronger towns fund which can push up to 25million into Cleator Moor and up to 25million into Millom and the future high street fund for Whitehaven are still very much on the agenda”.

Tourism seems to be high on the council’s agenda, is there any plans in the pipeline to run any promotional campaigns for Copeland and any other tourism conferences post-pandemic? 

“Katie Reed is our new tourism development officer, and tourism is very important in Cumbria as a whole and Copeland is really starting to get into that arena. We will use all our resources to push tourism back into Copeland and I feel post-pandemic we will be able to really drive tourism in the area as I believe there will be limited foreign travel for holidays and instead more people may want to go on holiday in their country of residence, and Copeland will be on the map for visitors.”

Copeland stretches from Whitehaven down to Millom; will the council be considering any more ‘Open for Business’ events to engage and get people networking from all areas of the borough?

“Our next Open for the Business conference will be hosted in Spring 2021”

People are very concerned it will take months and months for everyone to get back on their feet, what message would you give to those who are worried and concerned?

“We are really pushing the support for business owners through our flat-out communications strategy including using all media avenues. Our team has allocated 68% of the money we have received from the government, and this places Copeland in the top 16% of authorities in the country. The figures also reveal 32% of the money that remains unclaimed, and I am urging eligible business who haven’t already applied for their grant to do so. “

“I would also like to express my great appreciation to the volunteers from across our borough, and we will certainly remember those businesses that have and still are going above and beyond during this difficult time.”

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