BREAKING NEWS: Market Rasen Is a Portas town

MARKET RASEN has been selected from more than 370 applications to become a Portas Pilot town and will receive a £100k grant.

Twelve town centres across the country will have a unique opportunity to revitalise their high streets after being selected to be the first Portas Pilots, Local Government Minister Grant Shapps said today.

Mr Shapps praised the exceptional quality of the winning bids, which will each receive a slice of £1.2 million and a tailored package of support from both the Minister and retail guru Mary Portas.

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.

A statement announcing the town’s success in bidding for £100k said: “Market Rasen High street often sees people pass through the town on their way to local sporting events, from the races to rugby, but few stop in to visit the shops.

“The traditional market town’s Pilot will help the area draw customers in by bringing pride back to the local area and restoring the market town ‘look’. The Town Team plans to ‘blitz’ the unkempt areas of the town and work with landlords to tackle empty shops.

“They will advertise the local free parking and revitalise the market with stallholder demonstrations. Local shops will also be encouraged to open stalls and a ‘mentoring’ scheme will be put in place for new businesses to start on a market stall and work their way up to a high street store.”

Announcing the award today, Saturday May 26, Local Government Minister Grant Shapps said: “The best local high streets offer more than simply shopping - they are the beating heart of their neighbourhoods: places to meet, work, relax and come together as a community.

“It’s why this competition to become a Portas Pilot has captured the imagination of the nation, with communities across the country uniting to support their high streets.”

Peter Drummond, President, British Council of Shopping Centres said: “With high street pilots being such a central plank to Mary Portas’ recommendations to Government, today’s announcement of the winning Town Teams is fantastic news.

“Local communities from up and down the country have submitted some incredibly innovative ideas designed to boost struggling high streets, and the enthusiasm demonstrated is to be applauded.

“We look forward to working closely with them in delivering these ambitious plans, providing free mentoring from within our membership and drawing upon the vast experience therein to maximise what can be achieved.

“However, importantly we consider this the first step in what should be a crucial ongoing initiative for Britain - both in the context of local community and the wider economy.”

Market Rasen was one of 12 towns awarded grants in the first phase of the Portas Pilot scheme. Others included Bedford, Croydon, Dartford, Bedminster, Liskeard, Margate, Nelson, Stockport, Newbiggin by sea, Stockton on Teeds and Wolverhampton.