Eastbourne’s Portas Pilot bid has failed

EASTBOURNE and its Town Team has failed in its bid to secure cash and the advice of retail guru Mary Portas – but it may have another chance.

The Portas Pilot aims to rejuvenate town centres and Eastbourne, along with hundreds of town across the country, put in a bid.

Today (May 26), the 12 successful towns were announced and Eastbourne was not on the list.

The winning towns to receive advice from Mary Portas and a share of her £1.2 million fund are Bedford, Croydon, Dartford, Bedminster in Bristol, Liskeard in Cornwall, Margate, Market Rasen in Lincolnshire, Nelson in Lancashire, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea in Northumberland, Stockport in Greater Manchester, Stockton-on-Tees in North Yorkshire and Wolverhampton.

However, because of the overwhelming response of more than 370 applications from across the country, a second round of the competition has been launched – giving Eastbourne another chance.

Grant Shapps, local government minister, said unsuccessful applicants should not despair because 15 additional pilots will be announced by the end of July.

Mr Shapps said there was no need for unsuccessful applicants to reapply, but they could sharpen up their bids if they wished and submit them again by June 30.

The minister said it was clear that Mary Portas’s review into the high street was the ‘catalyst communities craved’ to get together and secure the future of their town centres.

Mr Shapps said, “The quality and sheer number of applications has been overwhelming – 12 winning bids now have the chance receive expert advice and financial support, but I believe more towns deserve to be selected.

“So today I can announce a second round of the competition will see 15 more town centres benefit from this unique opportunity. Together these pilots can be the vanguard of a high street revolution, and others can look to their example to kick start a renaissance of our town centres.”