Anxious wait for hundreds of Portas Pilot bidders

With the deadline for applications now past, hundreds of towns are waiting to hear if they have been successful in their bid to become a so-called Portas Pilot.

Anxious wait for hundreds of Portas Pilot bidders

It is expected that they will know next month whether they will be one of the first 12 towns lucky enough to get a share of £1m of government funding under the scheme.

The Portas Pilots initiative is one of retail expert Mary Portas’ key recommendations for bringing life back into the UK’s high streets, under which those towns chosen will be able to try out some of Portas’ ideas.

The scheme has proved so popular that further funding was recently made available for a dozen more pilot towns, the identity of which is expected to be revealed in June.

Channel 4 is reportedly planning to run a series about the initiative, in which Portas will look in-depth at how it is working in three of the pilot towns.

Meanwhile, some of the largest landlords and retail property experts in the country are supporting the scheme. The British Property Federation and the British Council of Shopping Centres, via their involvement on the National Town Team Working Group, are looking at how their members can help make the Portas Pilots work.

Says BPF chief executive Liz Peace: “If Town Team Pilots are to succeed they must capture the knowledge of experts in the fields of retail, property management, place making and marketing, and so we’re calling on our members to lend their help to the successful bids to enhance their chances of creating vibrant town centres.”

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