Towns and cities across the UK are being given the opportunity to bid for a share of a £1million funding pot to help them to turn arond their unloved and unused High Streets. Stoke-on-Trent with its six towns has more than enough unloved High Streets to choose from to put bids in against.
Mary Portas and Grant Shapps the Local Government Minister have launched a competition to choose 12 towns to become ‘Portas Pilots’ and bid for up to £100,000 to help them. The cash has offered as an incentive to those towns that come up with the best High Street blueprints in a move that fulfils the first and last recommendations of Mary Portas’ High Streets Review, commissioned by the Prime Minister and published before Christmas.
Speaking on Friday Grant Shapps said:
Our high streets have faced stiff competition from Internet shopping, and out-of-town shopping centres – leaving them underused, unloved and under-valued. The Internet is not going to go away, and so for our high streets to survive they need to offer something new and exciting.
So today I’m offering a golden ticket to 12 town centres across the country to become ‘Portas Pilots’ – areas with the vision and enthusiasm to breathe new life into what should be the beating heart of their communities, and they will get Mary’s and my support as they try out the ideas in her recent review.
Taking forward the first recommendation from Mary Portas’s review, the 12 successful localities will create Town Teams, made up of the key players in their local community – such as the council, local landlords, shopkeepers and the local MP.
These teams will then benefit from the backing of the Minister, Whitehall and Mary Portas herself as they take forward the recommendations from the review and in their area. They will also receive a share of £1 million.
Mary 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. I hope my Review has inspired people with another vision of tomorrow where our high streets are re-imagined as destinations for socializing, culture, well being, learning as well as shopping. I want the first twelve Town Teams to challenge the old ways of working, experiment, take risks and reaffirm their place at the heart of a community. A place we all want to be and can be proud of.
Successful bidders will need to demonstrate how they have the energy, enthusiasm and vision to make a real difference to their town centres and make them the hubs of their communities.
Energy & enthusiasm is something that, dispite the best efforts of the council with their poorly implimented regeneration plans, Stoke-on-Trent still has lots of, this along with the creative flair will be ideal when areas are asked to demonstrate how they plan to breathe new life into their high streets and shopping parades, but not just in a standard application form – Mr Shapps would also like to see their pitches to become Portas Pilots in short YouTube clips.
Use the links below to read more about how to bid to become one of the Portas Pilots.