Lowestoft: Town Centre Wins Portas Cash
25 July 2012, 00:01 | Updated: 26 July 2012, 06:23
Lowestoft is celebrating today after becoming one of a handful of towns to be chosen for funding and support from the Government as part of the Mary Portas Pilot Scheme.
Following the announcement of 12 winning bids in June, Lowestoft is one of a further 15 town centres across the country which will now be given an opportunity to revitalise their high streets after being selected to be ‘Portas Pilots’.
Each town will receive a slice of £1.2 million and a tailored package of support from both the Government and retail guru Mary Portas. The successful bid was led by the Lowestoft Town Centre Management Partnership in partnership with Waveney District Council and the Waveney Chamber of Commerce.
The Portas Review led by “High Street Guru” Mary Portas and commissioned by the Prime Minister, made a number of recommendations aimed at identifying what government, local authorities, businesses and communities could do together to promote the development of new models of sustainable and diverse high streets.
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) subsequently invited local town partnerships to pilot some of the ideas set out in the Portas Review, by creating ‘Town Teams’ to drive innovation in the way the high street is managed and to develop a strategic, collaborative approach to revitalising the local economy. The teams then submitted bids for funding and it is with great delight that Lowestoft learned it had been chosen from 371 applications.
Emma King, Town Centre Manager said: “Lowestoft Town Management Partnership (LTMP) could not be more proud or delighted that Lowestoft has been chosen as a Portas Pilot. This is an enormous achievement for Lowestoft and will help to shape a positive way forward alongside the current development of a ‘Business Improvement District’ which will be yet another boost for the town.
“This is an enormous achievement for Lowestoft and is real recognition for a town which has faced difficulties but, due to the passion of the people working within it, has managed to ride the storms and can now look towards a positive future.”
Colin Law, Leader of Waveney District Council said: “This is absolutely wonderful news for the town and to be chosen from over 300 different bids is a very great achievement. We have worked closely in partnership with LTMP and it is because of our shared aspirations and determination that we have reached our goal.
“Every town faces its challenges but we have risen above the others by showing a real passion allied to great ideas and sound business principles. This is just the beginning and we cannot wait to make Lowestoft an even greater place to be.”
Local Government Minister Grant Shapps said: “Today I’d like to congratulate the 15 town teams that, in the face of stiff competition, have been selected to be the next Portas Pilots. But 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.
“That’s why I’m calling on these communities, led by their MPs, to put themselves forward once again to become Town Team Partners. Each one that applies will benefit from a package of support to refine their plans and get the help and advice they need to bring their town centres back to life.