Published: May 26, 2012
Burnham-On-Sea's bid to become Portas Pilot town is turned down

Burnham-On-Sea's bid to become a Portas Pilot town and win a share of £1.2m of regeneration funding was formally turned down on Saturday (May 26th), but the door has been left open for a second attempt later this year.

Local Government Minister Grant Shapps, who is the Government’s lead on Mary Portas' plans to revive the country’s high streets, has today announced that Bedford, Croydon, Dartford, Bedminster in Bristol, Liskeard, Margate, Market Rasen, Nelson in Lancashire, Newbiggin by the Sea, Stockport, Stockton on Tees and Wolverhampton have been successful.

The towns were chosen from 370 applicants across the UK, with each getting a share of a £1.2m pot to improve their shopping areas.

Burnham Town Team's Alex Turco told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "Naturally, the Town Team is disappointed not to be a Portas Pilot. A lot of people put in a prodigious amount of work in a short time to prepare the bid and for that we are grateful. Nevertheless we had to be in the competition to stand a chance of winning and with over 370 towns involved, our chances were slim."

"However, we have the opportunity to succeed in the second round of the Portas Pilot funding and the Town Team wishes to try again. The recent furore over the Jubilee bunting shows that there is a need for greater care and attention to our Town Centre and the Town Team is confident that the enthusiasm shown to date can be put to good use."

"We will be having a Town Team meeting this Tuesday (29th May) at 6.30pm at the Princess Theatre and Arts Centre where everyone is welcome. There are plenty of ways we can work together to make Burnham Town Centre a better place to visit, shop and do business and making this happen is what will drive forward the Town Team regardless."

Burnham's application for £99,000 was submitted with a video and over 200 pledges of support from local groups and people just before the deadline in March after several weeks' work by the recently-formed Town Team. The bid outlined how the money would be spent in Burnham to meet a 'vision' of modernising the town and helping it become a thriving shopping centre.

Grant Shapps said unsuccessful applicants should not despair – the quality of the bids had been so high that he was launching a second round of the competition, which will see 15 additional pilots announced by the end of July. He added that there is no need for unsuccessful applicants to reapply, although they can sharpen up their bids and submit them again by 30 June, which is also the deadline for new town teams to apply.

Mr Shapps said: "The best local high streets offer more than simply shopping – they are the beating heart of their neighbourhoods: places to meet, work, relax and come together as a community. It’s why this competition to become a Portas Pilot has captured the imagination of the nation, with communities across the country uniting to support their high streets."

"The quality and sheer number of applications has been overwhelming – 12 winning bids now have the chance receive expert advice and financial support, but I believe more towns deserve to be selected. So today I can announce a second round of the competition will see 15 more town centres benefit from this unique opportunity. Together these pilots can be the vanguard of a high street revolution, and others can look to their example to kick start a renaissance of our town centres."

Mary Portas added: "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. My sincere congratulations to everyone who entered."

.THE WINNING PORTAS PILOT TOWNS:

The 12 winning towns who will share £1.2m of funding are:

Bedford - offering mentoring support for High Street businesses and community use of empty properties.

Croydon, Greater London - transforming the riot-stricken area’s historic Old Town market into a thriving market, food and cultural quarter.

Dartford, Kent - opening up central spaces for use by classes and clubs, from the Scouts to Slimming World and starting a ‘school for shopkeepers’.

Bedminster, Bristol – putting Bedminster on the map for Street Art and Street Theatre. A bicycle rickshaw service and a review of parking will also tackle the traffic environment.

Liskeard, Cornwall - competing against the edge of town supermarket with a vibrant arts scene, guerrilla gardening and yarn bombing to inject fun back into the town centre.

Margate, Kent - putting education and enjoyment at the heart of the town centre’s transformation with courses, “job club” services and pop up shops.

Market Rasen, Lincolnshire - drawing customers in by restoring the market town look and feel, advertising free parking and mentoring new businesses.

Nelson, Lancashire - attracting local students with a young persons café, sports activities, and a new art and vintage market.

Newbiggin by the Sea, Northumberland - better branding of the town to draw people in, improving local transport and hosting pop up shops.

Stockport, Greater Manchester - realising the character and potential of the Markets and Underbanks area with a creative arts complex, outdoor screenings, a new parking strategy and street champions.

Stockton on Tees, Teeside - live entertainment at the Globe Theatre to boost the evening leisure economy alongside specialist High Street and evening markets.

Wolverhampton - bringing the city to life with modern day town criers and on-street performers and a ‘dragon’s den’ style competition to support local entrepreneurs.

 


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