Competition grows for retail cash

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Altogether 15 areas in Yorkshire have applied to be part of the so-called Portas Pilots, schemes designed to revitalise high streets around the UK.

Set up following a review of the UK’s declining high streets by retail guru Mary Portas, the pilots will receive a share of £1m from the Government to boost trading and support local businesses.

So far, Armley in Leeds, Barnsley, Bedale, Bentham, Bridlington, Dewsbury, Goole, Hebden Bridge, Otley, Ripon, Rotherham, Scarborough, Selby, Wakefield and York have applied.

The scheme is open to partnerships who said they want to ”re-imagine their town centres and high streets, ensuring they offer something new and different that neither out-of-town shopping centres nor the internet can match – an experience that goes beyond retail, with creative use of public spaces and a vibrant evening economy”.

The Yorkshire Post reported over the weekend that Yorkshire’s market towns were among those struggling in the face of competition from out of town retail parks and supermarkets, with as many as one store in five in parts of the region lying empty or advertised as to let.

Ms Portas said: “I want the first 12 town teams to challenge the old ways of working, experiment, take risks and reaffirm their place at the heart of a community. A place we all want to be and can be proud of.”