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‘Mary Portas has created priceless levels of civic pride’

Paul Turner-Mitchell

So Mary Portas’s halo has slipped. And judging by the recriminations over her Margate documentary, the revolution may not be televised after all.

So Mary Portas’s halo has slipped. And judging by the recriminations over her Margate documentary, the revolution may not be televised after all.

Much has been said about the difficulties of bringing a dose of reality TV to struggling towns and the teams that have to turn them around. 

Mary’s detractors have seized on this, but I won’t join them. Having spent the last four years fighting to improve Rochdale town centre, I know just how messy, complicated and maddening this kind of work is.

Over those years I’ve read countless academic reports and heard politicians pontificate, but problems associated with the high street stayed in the margins. Portas has taken it to another level. She’s brought hundreds of town teams together and helped create priceless levels of civic pride.

The issue that troubles me is the fear of community momentum faltering. Town teams are raring to go but the wheels of central and local government are failing to keep up.

More than 300 town teams will miss out on Portas Pilot ‘tickets’.

Will those councils support them in delivering change or simply let inspired ideas hit the buffers? 

Indies are involved in town teams across the country and need support. We can’t afford to let so much energy, ideas and commitment go to waste.

  • Paul Turner-Mitchell, Owner of young fashion indie 25 Ten Boutique in Rochdale

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