Portas £21k ‘finally’ back in Market Rasen

Mary Portas with MR BIG EMN-190913-150545001
Mary Portas with MR BIG EMN-190913-150545001

A massive £21k cash pot leftover from Market Rasen’s 2012-13 Portas Pilot windfall has finally been returned to the town.

West Lindsey District Council, which had been holding the cash, has this week confirmed the money has now been handed over to Market Rasen Town Council.

Market Rasen Business Improvement Group (MR BIG) beat off competition from hundreds of entries to secure £200k in the government’s Portas Pilot project to transform struggling high 
streets.

MR BIG disbanded in 2015 and WLDC has had the cash ever since.

Speaking at Market Rasen Town Council’s September meeting, Mayor John Matthews said: “Finally, I’m going to Gainsborough [WLDC] to sign the documents.”

Coun Matthews said the sum of money being returned to the town was ‘around £21,000’.

Deputy Mayor Steve Bunney added: “There is more [money] but that’ll have to be recovered from debtors.”

Coun Bunney said the town would have to ‘work with what we’ve got’ for the time being.

Coun Matthews would not be drawn on any further details about the additional money or the identity of the ‘debtors’.

And he added that not even his fellow town councillors were aware of the details.

Market Rasen Town Council and ex-MR BIG members have been working for about two years to get the big cash pot back to the town - and it had looked like it was imminent back in May 2018.

Market Rasen Town Partnership will oversee the spending over the cash, and the group has promised a ‘high street revival’.

In a presentation to Market Rasen Town Council, Market Rasen Action Group (MRAG) said its members would like to see the cash spent on cleaning up ‘unsightly’ bird mess, revitalising the market and painting shop fronts. MRAG’s other priorities included LED street lighting, sweeping brushes for shops to clean up outside their premises, more waste bins around town, and flower planters to make the town look 
‘pretty’.