Multimillion-pound package of support for high streets

Nearly 400 Town Teams are to win backing from a multimillion-pound package of Government support to revive their high streets and make them the beating hearts of their communities, Local Government Minister Grant Shapps announced today.

Having received an overwhelming volume of high-quality bids, the Minister confirmed that those not selected to be Portas Pilots would not be left behind.

The news comes as Shapps announced 15 new Portas Pilots, including Berwick, taking the total across the country to 27.

Mr Shapps issued a call to MPs from the 392 Town Teams 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 £5.5million nationwide.

In Northumberland, Amble and Alnwick had both entered bids to become Portas Pilots, while Newbiggin-by-the-Sea was selected as a Portas Pilot in the first round.

This additional package of support forms part of a wider response to Mary Portas’s Review, which was published last December.

All town teams from across the country will also be able to bid for a £1million Future High Street X-Fund to reward the most effective and creative schemes to encourage people back to the town centres in 2013, and a £500,000 fund to help access set-up loans for new Business Improvement Districts.