Grant Shapps, the Housing Minister, announced today that the Government is accepting virtually all of the 28 recommendations in the independent Portas High Street Review last December.
Encouragingly, Mr Shapps says he is going one step further with a ‘Portas-Plus’ deal ; a range of measures offering new incentives, funding schemes and bureaucracy-busting measures, all designed to help local people turn their high streets into the ‘beating hearts of their communities once again’.
The new package includes:
£10 million high street innovation fund, allocated to 100 local authorities to focus on bringing empty shops back into use (the Government is looking for this to be supplemented by both councils and landlords to create a £30 million pot – will landlords put in their £10million, let alone cash-strapped councils?)
£1 million future high street x-fund, awarded next year to the locations which deliver the most creative and effective schemes to renovate their high streets
a national market day, launching a national market fortnight from 23 June to 8 July to encourage entrepreneurs
£500,000 fund for set up costs for BIDs the launch of a further round of Portas Pilots; towns set up ‘town teams’ and apply to trial some recommendations from the Portas review. 12 pilots were launched last month after huge interest was received from around the country