Town joins the race for Portas cash

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ALNWICK is to join the fight for a share of a £1million cash boost to revive the nation’s high streets.

The town could scoop up to £100,000 if it is one of 12 locations chosen as a Portas Pilot – a Government-backed reinvestment scheme devised by retail guru Mary Portas.

Alnwick Town Council is submitting a bid, put together on behalf of the town team, comprising the neighbourhood plan team and other key partners, such as Local Living.

As part of the submission, there is a vision to create a bustling, thriving market place to build footfall and trade throughout the town.

Town mayor Coun Alan Symmonds has thrown his support behind the application.

“I think it is the right thing to do, to represent the people and businesses of Alnwick in this way,” he said.

“It is a natural extension of the important work that has been done on the neighbourhood development plan and to me there seems to be a synergy between the two initiatives.”

The bid has the support of Alnwick Chamber of Trade (Act) and other partners.

Act chairman Carlo Biagioni said: “I think it is a good idea and the funding would be good for the town.”

Alnwick town and county councillor Gordon Castle said it would be ‘inappropriate not to apply’, adding that the money could be used to improve the streetscape and develop the town centre.

As reported in last week’s Gazette, a submission has also been drawn up for Amble.

, fronted by the town’s business club and supported by the likes of Amble Town Council and Amble Development Trust. The multi-strategy submission includes the creation of a website to market Amble and developing a plan to beautify the town.

Amble’s mayor Coun Leslie Bilboe said: “Anything we can do to try to improve the town and the job prospects in the long-term has got to be a good thing.”

It is expected that hundreds of applications nationwide will be submitted for the Portas Pilot scheme before tomorrow’s deadline.