The 12 pilot schemes, announced by Local Government Minister Grant Shapps, provide a range of opportunities for retail designers.
The pilot schemes will see:
• Bedford offering mentoring support for High Street businesses and community use if empty properties;
• Croydon’s Old Town market transformed into a thriving market, food and cultural quarter;
• Dartford, Kent, opening up central spaces for use by classes and clubs, such as the Scouts;
• Bedminster, Bristol, launching a street and and street theatre programme, as well as a bicycle rickshaw service;
• Liskeard, Cornwall, supporting a town-centre arts scene including yarn-bombing and guerrilla gardening;
• Margate, Kent, hosting town-centre pop-up shops and job club services;
• Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, refurbishing its market town look and feel;
• Nelson, Lancashire, launching a new café and art and vintage market;
• Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland, launching new branding and hosting pop-up shops;
• Stockport, Greater Manchester, opening a new arts complex to help redevelop the Markets and Underbanks area.
• Stockton-on-Tees, Teesside, launching new market events; and
• Wolverhampton, West Midlands, hosting ‘modern-day town criers and on-street performers’.
The Portas Pilot towns will each receive a share of £1.2 million to fund the schemes, as well as a dedicated contact point in Government to provide advice and support and support from Portas’ team and a range of sector experts.
Portas says, ‘I’ve been deeply touched by both the quality and creativity of the bids and the momentum Britain’s first town teams have generated in just a few short weeks.
‘It is now clearer to me than ever that Britain wants its town centres revitalised and the energy and accountability for that needs to rest with the people who live and do business there.’
The Portas Pilot scheme was launched as part of the Government’s response to the Portas Review. Towns are able to bid for the second round of the Portas Pilot scheme, which will see a further 12 towns funded, until 30 June – with the pilots to be announced at the end of July.