HALTWHISTLE is to bid for its share of a government fund that would secure its high street for the future.

The town council has been working on a proposal for Northumberland County Council’s Town Investment Programme, an ongoing process to establish a series of measures to boost economic performance in the county’s town centres.

The county council is to use the proposals from towns to make an application to the Future High Streets Fund, which will see one town receive up to £25m to support and fund local area plans and make their high streets and town centres fit for the future.

Coun. Graham Ridley presented his ideas at the latest meeting of Haltwhistle Town Council. He said: “Thirty eight per cent of the people in Haltwhistle are over 65. The other problem we have is we have a number of people with no qualifications, and that means as a work force we’re not attractive to new industry.

“We have to play to our strengths – one of those is the way we look after elderly. We could use one of the disused sites for the residential accommodation for the elderly. If we have people with disposable income the town will grow.”

Coun. John Clark suggested forming a history society to bring visitors down from The Sill, while also helping with the education of youngsters.

The county council must use one town’s proposals to apply by March 22.