Eastbourne to reap benefits of town centre shopping guru

Stephen Lloyd and Chris Richards
Stephen Lloyd and Chris Richards

EASTBOURNE may pilot a national scheme to rejuvenate the high street following a report penned by shopping guru Mary Portas.

The town’s MP Stephen Lloyd, who is co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Town Centres, said he had been tasked with implementing recommendations set out in the independent, Government-commissioned review of the country’s town centres by the Mary Queen of Shops star.

He said he planned for Eastbourne to be part of a pilot scheme to test out her proposals.

In her report, Ms Portas makes 28 recommendations on ways to turn around the high street’s fortunes, including cutting red tape, monitoring car parking charges and setting up ‘Town Teams’ – strategic management teams specifically for high streets.

Her final recommendation is to run a series of High Street pilot schemes to see how the plans work.

Mr Lloyd is keen to progress the idea with the town centre management, the council and local traders.

He will be hosting a meeting in Parliament of town centre managers from across the south east in the New Year to progress the plan.

The APPG for Town Centres will be drawing up a town centre charter, which MPs will be encouraged to sign in the coming weeks.

Mr Lloyd, who questioned Ms Portas himself, said, “Locally we have a great team and I am in regular contact with Chris Richards, the town centre manager.

“Consequently, by the summer we will be introducing a regular, quality, street market to Eastbourne’s town centre to encourage greater numbers to the High Street.

“In recent months I have also had a series of positive meetings with Legal and General and Eastbourne Borough Council about the ongoing regeneration of the town centre.”