Shopping areas in Surrey are to benefit from a £3 million windfall.

Surrey County Council is making up to £750,000 available annually over the next four years for boroughs and districts to improve secondary shopping centres.

They will be able to put the Town Centre Revitalisation Fund towards retail areas beyond the centres of large towns or shopping streets in smaller ones.

The news comes after council leader David Hodge unveiled a Local Centre Improvement Fund scheme that will allow traders and community groups to bid for a share of £250,000 annually over the next four years to spruce up village centres and local shopping parades.

Peter Martin, the council’s deputy leader, said: “Local businesses and shops are the lifeblood of every community so hopefully this planned scheme will be the first of many we support in towns the length and breadth of Surrey.

“While money is tight because of rising demand for services such as adult social care, there are still plenty of smaller things that we can do that make a big difference to people’s daily lives – and schemes like this benefit both traders and shoppers as well as the local economy.”

Fiona Stimpson, chairman of Horley Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the new funding.

She said: “Horley could do with more signs to direct both drivers and rail passengers towards the town centre.

“These are lacking in some areas of the town.

“We also need a part-time events manager to help promote Horley.

“Perhaps he or she could cover the whole Reigate and Banstead borough on a full-time basis.”

Among the first projects to benefit from the council cash is Leatherhead’s Church Street which will receive £200,000.

It will go towards a Mole Valley District Council initiative to improve paving and lighting as well as install seats and plant trees as part of the Transform Leatherhead initiative.