Up to £100,000 will be awarded to 12 town centres across the country this year to test the recommendations to improve town centres made by TV's Queen of Shops, Mary Portas.
Mary Portas was asked by the government to look at the state of UK high streets and town centres, which resulted in the publication, in December 2011, of the Portas Review: an independent review in to the future of our High Streets.
The Grays Portas Pilot was submitted for consideration to the Department for Communities and Local Government on 30 March. We expect to hear the results of the competition in May.
You can download a copy of the submission below (see how to access PDF files):
We would like to thank everyone that has made a positive contribution to the bid, either by signing the petition, providing a letter of support, taking part in the consultation exercise or featuring in the short film produced to support the bid.
We would like businesses and representatives of resident groups who are interested in becoming part of the Town Team and helping to improve Grays town centre, to register now.
If successful we will ask for your views on ideas to improve the town centre but if you have any thoughts you can email us now. Unfortunately we won't be able to reply to emails at this stage.
You can find out more, register your interest to be part of the Town Team, or tell us what improvements you would like to see in Grays town centre, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to us at:
In 2011 Mary Portas was asked by the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister to conduct an independent review into the state of the UK high streets and town centres. The Portas Review: an independent review into the future of our high streets was published in December 2011 and contained 28 recommendations aimed at maintaining and strengthening the role of town centres.
These recommendations point to roles for central government, local government, business and communities.
While recognising the changing nature of retailing including the growth of the internet and mobile shopping, the report states the importance of re-imagining high streets and breathing economic and community life back in to them by re-establishing them as destinations for a variety of roles including socialising, culture, health, well-being, creativity and learning.
In February 2012 the Department for Communities and Local Government published the Portas Pilots Prospectus: an invitation to become a Town Team.
This invites applications to pilot the Town Team approach. The successful applicants will receive up to £100,000 – on average this will be £80,000 per pilot – to test the approach.
There will be 12 pilots around the country aimed at testing the approach in different types of town centre and in different circumstances. The purpose of the pilots is to test the Portas approach and to provide an opportunity for local partnerships to develop and share knowledge about the effectiveness of various options for high street improvement.
You can find out more on the Department for Business and Innovation Skills website: The Portas Review: an independent review into the future of our high streets
One of the primary recommendations of the Portas Review is to put in place Town Teams with a 'visionary, strategic and strong operational management team'.
Local areas should decide on the form of the team but the report suggests representation to include key landlords, large and small shopkeepers, council representatives with specific knowledge of planning and development, the mayor or MP, other local businesses and service providers and local residents.
You can find out more on the Department for Communities and Local Government website: Regeneration and economic growth: Town Team pilots - 'Portas pilots'