An additional 15 UK towns have been selected to be part of the government’s high street revival scheme, headed up by retail guru Mary Portas.
The new locations will join 12 existing locations selected to be Portas Pilots and will each receive £100,000 of public money, as well as the help of interested parties. The now 27 troubled towns, as well as 392 additional town teams, will also share a pot of government funding worth £5.5m.
Towns newly added to the regeneration project are: Ashford, Berwick, Braintree, Brighton, Hatfield, Royal Leamington Spa, Liverpool, the Waterloo area of central London, Forest Hill (south London), Tower Hamlets, Loughborough, Lowestoft, Morecambe, Rotherham and Tiverton.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is offering both existing and new pilots a free package of benefits for the initial 12-month period of their existence, including access to retail-sector performance statistics and intelligence on the legislative agenda.
Stephen Robertson, director general at the BRC, said: “High streets are the heartbeat of our communities, providing jobs and services but many of them are seeing long-standing difficulties compounded by customers’ current difficulties.
“The pilots are a good start towards meaningful action, which could help town centres turn their fortunes around. Announcing more pilots will provide a wider platform of support for regeneration across England and we want to back that by pledging our own package of practical help to them at no cost. Offering the 27 access to our valuable business information will help them better manage and plan their activity, making it more likely they can deliver the revival we all want.”