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Bids open for high streets fund

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Bidding has started for a £1m fund to help improve town centres.

The Future High Street X-Fund will award the money to one or more winner localities after bids close in December, housing minister Grant Shapps has said.

He wrote in its prospectus that he expected winners would show, “a boundless appreciation of the unlimited potential of their town centres”.

Winning bids will be chosen by an independent panel and payments made as unringfenced revenue grant.

The fund was devised as part of the government’s response to retail expert Mary Portas’ review of the future of high streets earlier this year.

Two waves of ‘Portas Pilots’ have already been named by ministers, and now the 392 towns that applied unsuccessfully for this status will be able to access support.

They can gain £10,000, mentoring from retail experts and support from Association of Town Centre Management if successfully nominated by their local MP.

Mr Shapps said: “Having witnessed the overwhelming response from over 400 towns to our search for Portas Pilots, I’m determined that the energy and enthusiasm they displayed is not lost, and that every area has the opportunity to breathe new life into their high streets.”

The ATCM recently produced an encyclopaedia of good practice100 Ways to Help the High Street.

The Portas Pilots

Ashford

Bedford

Bedminster (Bristol) 

Berwick (Northumberland)

Braintree,

Brighton (London Road)

Croydon

Dartford

Hatfield

Lambeth (Lower Marsh and the Cut)

Leamington (Old Town)

Lewisham (Forest Hill, Kirkdale and Sydenham)

Liskeard

Liverpool (Lodge Lane)

Loughborough

Lowestoft

Margate

Market Rasen

Morecambe

Nelson

Newbiggin-by-the-sea

Rotherham

Stockport

Stockton-on-Tees

Tiverton

Tower Hamlets (Chrisp Street, Watney Market, Roman Road)

Wolverhampton

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