Low-cost visions for high streets


The Government has invited towns to become one of 12 successful bidders to share in a "golden ticket" fund to breathe new life into their high streets, but the successful ones will only get an average of £83,000 to spread around them.

Communities minister Grant Shapps launched the Portas Pilots scheme to reward 12 towns that come up with the best blueprints for their unloved and unused high streets.

But, with just £1m to spread across the 12, the successful bidders' applications, which must be accompanied by You Tube clips, will have to make a little go a long way.

"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 [Portas]' and my support as they try out the ideas in her recent review," said Mr Shapps.

The move is a response to the first of Ms Portas' recommendations and will involve setting up town teams from councils, landlords, shop keepers and MPs.

They will need to demonstrate how they plan to breathe new life into the centres.

"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," said Ms Portas.

"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."

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