EASTBOURNE has once again missed out on a valuable Government cash hand-out to regenerate the High Street.
Earlier this year, businesses, spearheaded by town MP Stephen Lloyd, tried unsuccessfully to bid for cash as part of an initiative spearheaded by retail expert, Mary Portas, who has been highly critical of the state of the nation’s high streets.
Twelve towns became Portas Pilots projects receiving vital investment to revitalise those shopping areas.
Mary Portas met business leaders in Eastbourne earlier this month, and it was hoped the town might benefit when a further trancher of cash was released.
But in an announcement made today with 15 areas in England sharing £1.5m in Government aid, Eastbourne was not on that list. Neighbouring London Road in Brighton is along with Ashford, Berwick, Braintree, Hatfield, Royal Leamington Spa, Liverpool, Waterloo in central London, Forest Hill in south London, Tower Hamlets in east London, Loughborough, Lowestoft, Morecambe, Rotherham, and Tiverton.
According to Local Government Minister, Grant Shapps, this is not the end of the road for Eastbourne or any of the other 400 towns who made funding applications. They will still be able to bid for a share of £5.5m which is being made available for individual projects, he said.
Currently in the UK, more than 11 per cent of town centre shops remain empty, although the Government introduced measures last week which it hopes will kick-start a new look to shopping centres by cutting red tape to make it easier for business people to move into empty premises and open so-called pop-up shops.