Portas Pilot bid team for Oakham and Uppingham will keep working together

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THE team behind a bid for £84,000 to improve our high streets is staying positive despite missing out on the cash.

Oakham and Uppingham town partnerships are hopeful the work they put into the joint bid for the Government’s Portas Pilot funding will benefit both towns.

They found out yesterday that they had been unsuccessful in the second round of funding but that they could still receive some money and support to put their plans into action.

Oakham Town Partnership chairman and mayor of Oakham Alf Dewis said: “I think that in putting together this bid we have done a lot of work which will benefit both towns. We have drawn up an action plan that we want to implement and it is just a matter of achieving the funding.

“It is disappointing not to have been chosen but most of the 15 towns that have got the money are towns in need of development.”

Local Government Minister Grant Shapps said the towns that had been unsuccessful would 
be invited to sign a national pledge to become a “town team partner” which would mean they would be entitled to a share of £5.5m.

They would have the opportunity to attend events and workshops, receive mentoring from experts and benefit from the experience of the 27 Portas Pilot Towns.

The town team partners would also benefit from a new web-based encyclopaedia called 100 Ways to Help the High Street, which will be run by the Association of Town Centre Management.

Coun Dewis said he would wait for more details on how the town team partner scheme would work.

He said: “We will do anything we can to help both towns and if it means signing as a partner, it is certainly something we will consider.

“But we are not sure yet of the full implications so we will wait

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to hear more.”

Coun Dewis said Oakham and Uppingham would continue to work together to look for alternative funding so some of the things they want to see, such as improved parking and transport links, could be implemented.

He said: “We have built a strong relationship with Uppingham Town Partnership and that is certainly something we will be looking to continue and build on.

“We are quite positive that we can search for the funding elsewhere.”

The towns found out in May that they had been unsuccessful in the first round of funding but decided to resubmit the bid.

The 15 towns that were successful in the second round of funding followed the first 12 pilot towns accepted onto the scheme, which was backed by TV retail expert Mary Portas.

The successful locations this time were: Ashford, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Braintree, Brighton, Hatfield, London Borough of Lambeth – Lower Marsh and the Cut, Leamington, the London borough of Lewisham, Lodge Lane in Liverpool, Loughborough, Lowestoft, Morecambe, Rotherham, Tiverton and London borough of Tower Hamlets.