Ashford, Braintree, Loughborough and Rotherham are among the second tranche of towns selected for the Portas Pilot treatment.
Local government minister Grant Shapps today announced 15 new schemes, taking the total across the country to 27. A further 400 ‘town teams’ will win backing from a multi-million pound package of government support.
The 15 towns that will form the second set of Portas Pilots are: Ashford; Berwick; Braintree; Brighton; Hatfield; Leamington; Liverpool; Waterloo; Forest Hill, Kirkdale and Sydenham in the London Borough of Lewisham; Chrisp Street, Watney Market, Roman Road in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets; Loughborough; Lowestoft; Morecambe; Rotherham and Tiverton. The Mayor of London has invested £300,000 to fund the three pilots within the capital.
They follow 12 town centres selected in May to test out the measures in Mary Portas’ High Street Review in an attempt to revive the high street.
Portas said: “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.”
After a glut of bids, the 392 town teams not chosen can sign a national pledge to become a Town Team Partner, which will give them access to a nationwide package of support worth £5.5m.
Shapps said: “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.”
The towns in this scheme will also have access to events, workshops and seminars across the country addressing key challenges facing struggling town centres and will receive direct mentoring from experts
They will also have access to an online encyclopaedia ‘100 Ways to Help the High Street’, which will be hosted and run by the Association of Town Centre Management. It will be available this Friday at www.100ways.org.uk.
All town teams will also be able to bid for a £1m Future High Street X-Fund, rewarding the most effective and creative schemes to encourage people back to the town centres in 2013, and a £500,000 fund to help access set-up loans for new Business Improvement Districts.