Council to get £100,000 share of ‘Portas Pilot’

TOWN centres across the borough are set for a cash windfall to help improve their appearance and increase the number of shoppers.

North Tyneside Council is in line to receive £100,000 of £500,000 being distributed around the north east by the government through the High Street Innovative Fund.

The move comes after the local authority submitted a bid to become a Portas Pilot – an initiative being run by ministers following a High Street Review from entrepreneur and business guru Mary Portas, pictured.

Ministers look set to accept all the recommendations in the review, as well as adding their own incentives and funding schemes, including the High Street Innovation Fund which will focus on bringing empty shops back into use.

And the announcement has been welcomed by officials in North Tyneside.

Mayor Linda Arkley said: “This funding is excellent news.

“We’re already doing a lot of good work to support North Tyneside’s high streets – this gives us an opportunity to build on that.

“We’ll be carefully considering ways this money could be used for the maximum possible benefit.”

The review also calls for more market days to be held in town centres and a £1m fund for locations which deliver the most creative and effective schemes.

Grant Shapps MP, minister for housing and local government, said: “Mary Portas’s review made crystal clear the stark challenge our high streets face.”

“I now want to see people coming together to form their own town teams and turning their creative ideas into reality to ensure their high streets thrive long into the future.”

Martin Blackwell, chief executive at the Association of Town Centre Management, said: “We all recognise that the high street in ten or even five years will be radically different to that we see today.

“This government’s approach, shown in the response to Mary’s report, is giving local communities the opportunity to shape the future High Street they want to see in their town.”