Town bids for ‘Portas’ million

King Street Market'Peam bidding for Mary Portas Cash'James White (centre manager promenades), John Cross (Brid market trader co op), Ann Smith (smiths butchers)'PA1212-15
King Street Market'Peam bidding for Mary Portas Cash'James White (centre manager promenades), John Cross (Brid market trader co op), Ann Smith (smiths butchers)'PA1212-15

BUSINESSES in the centre of Bridlington are setting their sights on a share of £1m government funding.

A bid to become one of 12 ‘Portas Pilot’ is being submitted in the hope of enticing shoppers back into the town centre.

The competition is the Government’s response to ‘The Portas Review: An independent review into the future of our high streets’. Commissioned last year, the report gave 28 recommendations as to how conditions might be improved for struggling town centres.

The scheme will offer 12 successful bidders a share of £1 million. The money is to be used to develop ideas for re-invigorating town centres and will also give the winners access to retail guru Mary Portas and her team of experts.

Bids to become Portas Pilots need to demonstrate how towns will use the commitment, enthusiasm and vision of the local community to revitalise their town centres, and also offer evidence that there is plenty of local support. In Bridlington the supporting partners are the Town Council, the Lords Feoffees, the Chamber of Commerce, ERYC Business Services and the Bridlington Free Press.

Free Press editor Nick Procter said: “We’re very happy to support this bid - it will be a great thing for the town if it is chosen as one of the final 12.”

The Bridlington bid focusses on King Street Market. Ann Smith of MG & AI Smith Butchers said: “Our vision is to create a bustling town centre all year round. By focusing on revitalizing King Street and the Market we aim to bring new people into the town centre and help new and established business to flourish.”

John Cross of the Bridlington Market Traders Cooperative added: “It’s time that Bridlington Market and the town centre were given a boost. We realise the competition to become a Portas Pilot will be stiff but we are going to give it our best shot, and with local people behind us we are in with a good chance.”

James White, the Promenades Centre Manager, said: “I’ve been very impressed by the commitment shown by both the people of Bridlington and the council. The recent success of the Promenades Centre has demonstrated that investing in Bridlington delivers real returns. I am fully behind this bid.” East Riding of Yorkshire Council has supported the preparation of bids, which are being developed through local Renaissance Partnerships. But competition is set to be stiff: in the immediate area Goole and Beverley are also bidding, whilst nationwide many dozens of hopeful towns are competing for the funding. However Bridlington’s bid has received enthusiastic local support, and it is hoped that those in charge of allocating the funding will recognise its potential.