Town wins share of £1.5m windfall

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ROTHERHAM has won a share of a £1.5m pot of funding to boost town centre regeneration projects in the latest round of “Portas

The town is one of 15 to be given the extra cash following a review by retail guru Mary Portas.

It is the second wave funding – no Yorkshire towns were successful following the first round of bids. More than 400 applications were made following a report by Portas into the state of the country’s high streets.

Local Government Minister Grant Shapps called on MPs from the 392 towns not chosen to come forward and sign a national pledge to become a “Town Team Partner” – enabling access to a package of support to their own town. The package of support is worth £5.5m nationwide.

Those that sign up to become Town Team Partners will get access to events, workshops and seminars across the country addressing the challenges facing struggling town centres. They will also receive direct mentoring support, have visits from experts and join an online community to receive tips and advice from retail specialists.

The Town Team Partners will also have access to a new web-based encyclopaedia – “100 Ways to Help the High Street”, which will be hosted and run by the 
Association of Town Centre Management.

Mr Shapps said: “Today I’d like to congratulate the 15 town teams that, in the face of stiff competition, have been selected to be the next Portas Pilots. But this is just the tip of the iceberg, and I’m determined that we don’t turn our backs on the other 392 Town Teams who put their plans forward to revive their high streets.”

The 15 new pilot areas are Ashford, Berwick, Braintree, Brighton, Hatfield, Royal Leamington Spa, Liverpool, the Waterloo area of central London, Forest Hill in south London, Tower Hamlets, Loughborough, Lowestoft, Morecambe, Rotherham and Tiverton.