Twelve town centres have the chance to benefit from a £1m fund to reinvigorate their high streets in the government’s first response to the Mary Portas review.

Under the competition launched by local government minister Grant Shapps and Mary Portas, towns with the best high street blueprints will become ‘Portas Pilots’ and get to share the £1m fund.

The 12 successful localities will create town teams made up of key players in the community, such as shopkeepers, councillors and the local MP – taking forward a key recommendation from Mary Portas’ high street review.

Welcoming the announcement, Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) chief executive James Lowman said: “This is a great opportunity for local shops to reach out to other businesses, councils and local people to change the places where they trade. It doesn’t just relate to big city centres – small towns and urban parades can also benefit from the fund.”

Portas said: “I am thrilled that now there is an opportunity to turn my recommendations into reality by giving communities across the country the opportunity to come forward with their vision for breathing new life into their locality.”

Shapps encouraged applicants to “try new things” and ensure that their high streets and parade become destinations where local people wanted to be.

“We want to learn their lessons and help communities across the country breathe new life into their own towns. Launching this competition now is a signal of our understanding that there’s no time to waste in driving forward these important measures,” he added.

Application forms for the £1m fund can be found here.