Portas fund: £24k on its way back to Rasen

Rasen Market Place.
Rasen Market Place.

A huge £24,000 cash sum left over from Market Rasen’s £200k Portas Pilot funding awards in 2012-13 will finally be handed over to the town.

Market Rasen Business Improvement Group (MR BIG) beat off competition from hundreds of entries to secure cash in the government’s Portas Pilot project to transform struggling high 
streets.

The group disbanded in 2015 and there is still £24,000 being held 
by West Lindsey District Council.

Market Rasen Town Council and ex-MR BIG members have been working for about a year to get the cash back to the town - and it now looks like it will be on its way by the end 
of the month.

A former MR BIG director told the Rasen Mail: “Substantial work has been completed to ensure that all of the 
funds left from the Portas project are spent in Market Rasen.

“The mechanism agreed with WLDC and the town council will ensure this and once the final paperwork has been signed off the funds should be 
made available.

“This will be by the end 
of May.”

Speaking at last month’s annual town meeting, Market Rasen’s deputy mayor Steve Bunney said the town council had been putting 
pressure on WLDC to release the money so it could be used for events and town improvements.

Coun Bunney said: “The old MR BIG and myself have looked at how 
that money can come into town and we’re still working on that.

“We’re quite frustrated, as a council we’ve been working on that for a year.

“We’re putting pressure on WLDC to make sure that money can come through as quickly as 
possible.”

A West Lindsey District Council spokesman said: “West Lindsey District Council is working closely with Market Rasen Town Council on its 
priorities and its vision 
for the area.

“The authority currently holds around £24,000 of the residual Business Improvement Group money on behalf of 
the town council and it has been agreed this will be handed over to them in due course as the responsible financial body.

“The money has been ring fenced for events and town improvements in 
Market Rasen.”

Cash to pay for events and improvements:

The Department for Communities and Local Government set up a ‘Portas Pilot’ fund after a review by retail guru Mary Portas into the future of the nation’s high streets.

Twelve towns, including Market Rasen, were chosen to take part in the scheme to rejuvenate their shopping areas, and each received a share of £1.2millon.

Market Rasen Business Improvement Group used the cash to put on 24 monthly themed markets in the town and to spruce up run down areas.

Mr BIG also created a heritage trail and staged an arts festival.