Published: July 25, 2012
Burnham's second Portas bid is rejected but funding hopes remain

Burnham-On-Sea's hopes of becoming a Portas Pilot town, securing vital regeneration funding have been dashed for a second time, it was announced today (Wednesday, July 25th) - however the town could still gain government support.

Local Government Minister Grant Shapps - who is the Government’s lead on Mary Portas' plans to revive the country’s high streets - has announced that Burnham is not among the second wave of 15 towns to be selected.

However, the town could gain Government financial help from a new £5.5million package to revive high streets across the UK. Mr Shapps has said that towns like Burnham that have not been selected to be Portas Pilots should not be left behind and the new 'Town Team Partner' scheme is being launched to provide help on regenerating town centres.

But Alex Turco from Burnham's Town Team told "We are very disappointed not to have been selected for a second time. The quality of our bid was very high and it would have delivered significant benefits for Burnham."

"Our delivery can carry on, but this decision makes it more difficult. The Town Team has done lots to galavanise the support of local businesses and the community to identify potential benefits. Several sub-groups have been formed to take this work forward and we will be re-grouping shortly."

He added that Burnham would be interested in hearing more about the new Town Team Partner scheme.

The Town Team has also recently submitted £322,000 of recommendations for town centre regeneration - to be funded by Tesco community funding - as reported here and is waiting to hear from Sedgemoor District Council on whether the proposals are taken forward.

The 15 towns successful in the second round of Portas Pilots are Ashford, Berwick, Braintree, Brighton (London Road), Hatfield, Leamington (Old Town), Liverpool (Lodge Lane), London Borough of Lambeth, London Borough of Lewisham, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Loughborough, Lowestoft, Morecambe, Rotherham and Tiverton.

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."

"I don’t want to lose the incredible momentum and I want to know that no town is left behind after such an enthusiastic and imaginative response to Mary Portas’s review. So alongside the 27 Portas Pilots across the country, these Town Team Partners will also be able to revive their high streets and make them the beating hearts of their communities once again."

Mary Portas added: "I am thrilled that communities up and down the country have looked beyond the money and have been mobilised to create Town Teams and demand more for their high streets. Whilst I shall continue to fight for the other 27 recommendations in my Review am looking forward to seeing fifteen more British towns putting their plans into action."

It was announced in May that Burnham had missed in round one of the Portas scheme, but Burnham's Town Team (pictured) fine-tuned its application and submitted its second bid at the end of June.

The next Town Team meeting is at 6.30pm in The Pizey Room at The Princess Theatre on August 9th when all will be welcome.

Pictured: Top, Burnham Town Team had high hopes of being selected in round two and, above, shopping guru Mary Portas


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