The government has unveiled the 15 towns chosen for the second phase of the Portas Pilots scheme as part of a multi-million pound programme to ensure that “no high street is left behind”.
Each of the 15 Pilots will receive a share of £1.5m, a dedicated contact point in government to provide advice, support from large retailers such as Boots and the opportunity to meet and network with other Portas Pilots.
The 15 towns picked to be a Portas Pilot are:
- Brighton (London Road)
- Leamington (Old Town)
- Liverpool (Lodge Lane)
- Waterloo (Lower Marsh & The Cut)
- Forest Hill, Kirkdale and Sydenham
- Chrisp Street, Whatney Market and Roman Road
The scheme was announced earlier this year as part of the government’s response to the Portas Review on the future of the high street. In May a dozen towns out of over 400 applications from around the country were chosen to receive a share of £1.2m to help rejuvenate their ailing high streets.
Towns unsuccessful in their bid to become a Portas Pilot will also receive the opportunity to become a Town Team Partner. Signing up to the scheme will give them access to a £5.5m support package that includes access to workshops addressing key challenges facing struggling town centres, mentoring support from retail experts and access to an online community to share tips and advice.
Town Team Partners will also gain access to the web-based encyclopaedia “100 Ways to Help the High Street” which will be run by the Association of Town Centre Management.
Local government minister Grant Shapps congratulated the 15 towns picked and urged those who didn’t to still get involved. “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,” he said.
“I don’t want to lose the incredible momentum and I want to know that no town is left behind after such an enthusiastic and imaginative response to Mary Portas’s review. Alongside the 27 Portas Pilots across the country, these Town Team Partners will also be able to revive their high streets and make them the beating hearts of their communities once again.”
The announcement was welcomed by Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) chief executive James Lowman. “The enthusiasm that has been generated by the ‘town teams’ initiative is a really positive outcome of Mary Portas’ work,” he said. “The successful bids now have an opportunity to show some real best practice about what town can do working together in partnership. We also welcome the fact that Ministers have put in place additional support for the many hundreds of towns that have made bids that were not successful.”
ACS has also offered support to all the Town Teams, through its ‘Planning for Diverse Local Centres’ guidance on how to put in place effective local planning policies that support investment and growth.