The Government has revealed which 12 town centres are to pilot Mary Portas’ recommendations to revitalise their high streets.
Bedford, Croydon, Dartford, Bedminster, Liskeard, Margate, Market Rasen, Nelson, Newbiggin by the Sea, Stockport, Stockton on Tees and Wolverhampton have all been awarded a slice of the £1.2m pot set aside by the Government.
The Portas Pilots were selected following a report by self-styled retail guru Mary Portas who was commissioned by the Government to boost failing high streets.
Lessons learned by the towns in the pilot will be shared with other flagging high streets across the country.
Local Government Minister Grant Shapps also reiterated at the weekend that there will be a second round of funding for an additional 15 Portas Pilots.
Shapps said the quality and number of applications for the scheme had been “overwhelming”.
“The best local high streets offer more than simply shopping – they are the beating heart of their neighbourhoods: places to meet, work, relax and come together as a community,” he said. “It’s why this competition to become a Portas Pilot has captured the imagination of the nation, with communities across the country uniting to support their high streets.”
In addition to the funding, the 12 town centres will also receive a dedicated contact point in Government to provide advice and support. Retail industry leaders, including Mary Portas’ own team, will also give the pilots free support and advice. The pilots will also be encouraged to meet and discuss experiences with each other.
Mary Portas said: “I’ve been deeply touched by both the quality and creativity of the bids and the momentum Britain’s first town teams have generated in just a few short weeks.
“It is now clearer to me than ever that Britain wants its town centres revitalised and the energy and accountability for that needs to rest with the people who live and do business there. My sincere congratulations to everyone who entered.”
Click here for more details of the winning bids.