TRADERS and business leaders are optimistic about the future of Tynedale’s high streets after more businesses reopened on Saturday.

The prominence of ‘shop local’ messages from local communities, councils and the Government has benefitted independent businesses throughout the district.

Despite high streets suffering from a decline visitor numbers over the past three months, traders have seen an increase in footfall since Saturday.

Paul Murray of the Prudhoe Front Street Association was upbeat about the further reopening of businesses.

He said: “It’s fantastic to see more of our businesses opening, especially the much-awaited barber and hairdressing salons, as well as pubs and restaurants.

“The people of Prudhoe have been incredibly supportive of the local retailers and I know they really appreciate the essential retailers who have remained open during lockdown.

“They provided such an important service to the community, and we thank them for all their commitment to Prudhoe.”

County councillor for Prudhoe South, Gordon Stewart, and Mayor of Prudhoe Tracy Gilmore were also encouraged by higher footfall on Prudhoe’s Front Street.

Coun. Gilmore said. “The support that the businesses have had during the lockdown has been great.

“I am hoping they continue with that support as the businesses are really grateful with the support they have received.”

Shield Green Nurseries has continued trading throughout the lockdown in Hexham Market Place, but said there had been a significant increase in visitors to the town centre on Saturday.

Al fresco dining returned to the Market Place, and Angela Wilson of Small World Cafe said it had been busy throughout the morning.

She said: “It’s nice to have customers in and seeing regular faces back through the doors.”