Local Government Minister, Grant Shapps MP has today announced that another 15 town centres are to be given extra cash for regeneration projects. This now takes the number of “Portas Pilots” to 27 following on from the 12 towns that were given cash to rejuvenate their shopping areas earlier this year
More than 400 towns made applications for funding and business support following a report by Ms Portas into the state of the High Street (available here).
The new 15 Portas Pilots are:
- Ashford, whose Town Team will use its local market to attract people back to the high street by offering new stall-holders the opportunity to have a ‘stall for a tenner’;
- Berwick, who will work with local builders and other businesses to give their high street a much-needed facelift;
- Braintree, who will provide mentoring support to the high number of independent shops in the area;
- Brighton (London Road), who will encourage retailers to work together to tackle vandalism and crime to help realise the area’s full potential;
- Hatfield, who will look beyond retail to provide community and event facilities to encourage more visitors to the high street;
- Leamington (Old Town), who plan to focus their efforts on tackling the high vacancy rate in the high street and encourage new businesses to the area;
- Liverpool (Lodge Lane), who will help aspiring young entrepreneurs in the community by offering a mentoring service;
- Waterloo – Lower Marsh and the Cut (London Borough of Lambeth), who plan to set up satellite markets and tackle the high number of empty shops in the area;
- Forest Hill, Kirkdale and Sydenham (London Borough of Lewisham), who plan to renovate 12 empty premises and improve signage in the local area;
- Chrisp Street, Watney Market, Roman Road (London Borough of Tower Hamlets), who will use exploit their high visitor numbers to run a series of public information programmes;
- Loughborough, who plan to involve students from Loughborough University to reinvigorate their high street and encourage budding business owners to consider setting up locally;
- Lowestoft, who will create a Town ‘group’ discount scheme to attract local people, and establish a mentoring scheme in conjunction with schools, colleges and retailers;
- Morecambe, who will set up a community café to provide advice and support for those looking to take up business opportunities;
- Rotherham, who will launch a publicity campaign to highlight the unique nature of the high street and encourage people to ‘shop local’; and
- Tiverton, who plan to improve parking facilities to encourage more visitors and tourists to the town centre
Other highlights from today’s announcement include:
- Those areas unsuccessful so far will still be able to bid for a share of a £5.5m being made available for individual projects.
- Grant Shapps has issued a call to MPs from the 392 Town Teams not chosen, to come forward and sign a national pledge to become a Town Team Partner – enabling access to a package of support to their own town. We would encourage all civic societies to campaign to get their MP to sign the pledge.
- Also launched today is a new website – 100 Ways to Help the High Street – www.100ways.org.uk. This should be a valuable resource for anyone wanting to be involved in the local high street.
You can see a selection of video applications from some of the groups above here
More information on today’s announcement and further information about the succesful pilots can be found here