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Funding news - 27/04/2012

"Fantastic" Response to Portas Pilots Scheme

Local Government Minister Grant Shapps has announced that hundreds of proposals from towns across England have been received in a bid to become one of the Portas Pilots to help revitalise their high streets.

Government has announced that it has received applications from 371 different towns in a bid to become one of the 12 pilot areas, with the chance to receive a share of £1.2 million to help redevelop their high streets and to receive support from the Minister and Mary Portas herself.

Grant Shapps said:

"I am delighted by the enthusiastic and energetic response from towns up and down the country, as they have used Mary Portas's review as a real catalyst for change to secure the future of their high streets.

"High streets have faced stiff challenges from internet shopping and out-of-town centres, yet there is still a clear desire from communities to see them survive. We have received a fantastic 371 bids to become one of the first 12 Portas pilots."

The results of this competition will be announced in May. Meanwhile, Mr Shapps has announced a further round of pilots to trial some of the recommendations made in Mary Portas' review.

Shapps said:

"[...] as part of our Portas Plus response to Mary's review, I've launched a second round of this competition to find a further 12 pilot areas. I now look forward to watching the YouTube videos and seeing how communities have come together for myself."

In addition to the 'Portas Plus' programme, Grant Shapps has also announced:

  • A £1 million Future High Street X-Fund, which will be awarded to areas with the most creative and effective schemes to rejuvenate their town centres.
  • A National Markets Day, launching a National Markets Fortnight, to celebrate the role markets can play and offer budding entrepreneurs the chance to test their business ideas.
  • A £500,000 fund for Business Improvement Districts, to help town centres access loans for their set-up costs.

The full Government response to Mary Portas' review can be found here (opens new window).

Source: Department for Communities and Local Government, 27/04/12

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