Mary Portas' pilot to roll out to another 15 townsWednesday, 25 July 2012
The 15 towns that will form the second set of Portas Pilots are: Ashford; Berwick; Braintree; Brighton; Hatfield; Leamington; Liverpool; Waterloo; Forest Hill, Kirkdale and Sydenham in the London Borough of Lewisham; Chrisp Street, Watney Market, Roman Road in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets; Loughborough; Lowestoft; Morecambe; Rotherham and Tiverton. The Mayor of London has invested £300,000 to fund the three pilots within the capital.
Mary Portas said: "I am thrilled that communities up and down the country have looked beyond the money and have been mobilised to create 'town teams' and demand more for their high streets. Whilst I shall continue to fight for the other 27 'recommendations' in my Review am looking forward to seeing fifteen more British towns putting their plans into action."
More than 390 applications were made following a report by retail expert Portas into the state of the country’s high streets. Those not selected to become one of the coveted Portas Pilots will be able to bid for a share of a £5.5m pot for individual projects and become a Town Team Partner.
Mr Shapps commented: “I’d like to congratulate the 15 town teams that, in the face of stiff competition, have been selected to be the next Portas Pilots. But this is just the tip of the iceberg, and I'm determined that we don't turn our backs on the other 392 Town Teams who put their plans forward to revive their high streets.
"That's why I'm calling on these communities, led by their MPs, to put themselves forward once again to become Town Team Partners. Each one that applies will benefit from a package of support to refine their plans and get the help and advice they need to bring their town centres back to life.”
The high streets in the Town Team Partner scheme will also have access to events, workshops and seminars across the country addressing key challenges facing struggling town centres and will receive direct mentoring and tips from retail experts.
Martin Blackwell, chief executive of the Association of Town Centre Management, added: "The response to the challenge created by the government's response to the Mary Portas report from communities in towns and cities across England was enormous. It is terrific to see the government acknowledging that groundswell of activity in such a positive way."
To assist the Portas Pilots and Town Team Partners, the ATCM is increasing its support with the launch of an online encyclopaedia, 100 Ways to Help the High Street at www.100ways.org.uk, which goes live on Friday.
Image: Illustration by Dermott Flynn
Video: The Portas Pilot video for Ashford