Portas Pilot bids fail but hopes are high
Last updated at 11:40, Thursday, 26 July 2012
NEITHER Whitehaven nor Cleator Moor, who both mounted a bid for town centre cash in the second round of Mary Portas pilots, have been successful.
Another 15 places have been selected and will share in a £1.5million pot to help improve their town centres and test out the Queen of Shops’ ideas for regeneration.
They were chosen from some 419 applications and form a second wave after the original 12 selected towns announced in May. However those not selected will be able to bid for a slice of a £5.5m pot created to help fund individual projects.
Grant Shapps, minister for Communities and Local Government, is calling on local MPs to sign a national pledge to put their high streets first and become Town Team partners. Those that do will receive backing from the a multi-million pound support programme to help put elements of their plans into action.
“I hope partnerships will build on the enthusiasm generated via this competition to push forward with their revitalisation proposals and work with their MP and local authority to ensure real differences can be made to the local area,’’ he said. “I don’t want to lose the incredible momentum that has been created and want to be sure that no town is left behind during our ongoing campaign to breathe new life into our high streets.’’
Whitehaven’s Town Team chairman Shelley Williamson said she received the news on Tuesday night . “I wasn’t surprised and was not too disappointed because really, we are not bad enough – and that’s a good thing. Those towns that are being chosen have very high numbers of empty shops and worse problems than us.’’
The team will remain in place and meets again in September. A shop-doctor/window dressing course has been organised for next month to assist retailers.
Cleator Moor’s Town Team’s spokesman Dave Farrell (Chamber of Trade) said his team was disappointed not to have been selected. “We thought we had put together a novel and strong bid but we are still committed and feel there is a lot we can do without the Portas money. We had already thought past the decision and are looking to move things on. There is to be significant support and help for Town Teams that do decide to continue, and we will be tapping into that.’’
The team is looking at an empty property on The Square which can be used as a retail base for locally made produce, branded ‘Moor Made’.
The 15 new pilot areas are: Ashford, Berwick, Braintree, Brighton, Hatfield, Royal Leamington Spa, Liverpool, the Waterloo area of central London, Forest Hill in south London, Tower Hamlets, Loughborough, Lowestoft, Morecambe, Rotherham and Tiverton.
First published at 11:10, Thursday, 26 July 2012
Published by http://www.whitehavennews.co.uk
Have your say
This descision does not suprise me,if you look at the list of chosen areas it is rife with southern towns and stinks of bias,so much for equality,as usual the southerners get money,our Mp's should play the discrimination card that they are against cumbria and we will get the funding.
The response "Not bad enough" beggars belief - ignorance must be bliss. If this was ever true, I would question why Whitehaven submitted a bid in the first place. The additional comments made that other towns have many more empty shops is simply untrue, they simply submitted better bids.
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