Second chance for Portas funding pot

Wyre Council Leader Coun Peter Gibson.

Wyre Council Leader Coun Peter Gibson.

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RESIDENTS in Wyre have been reassured they will be considered in the second round of a town centre regeneration scheme.

Wyre Council leader Peter Gibson described the borough’s application to become a Portas Pilot area – and receive funding as part of shopping queen Mary Portas’ bid to revamp high streets – as “short notice”.

The council leader led the failed bid for a share of the Government’s £1m put up for town centre improvements.

But at a meeting last night, Coun Gibson was keen to say the borough would get a second shot at the cash pot after local government minister Grant Shapps announced a second round of funding will take place and bids will once again be invited.

He said: “It was a short notice bid we put together but I would like to thank everyone including MPs and locals for their help and hard work.

“Blackpool didn’t make a bid but there were 327 towns which did and unfortunately this time we weren’t successful but we’ll be entered into the second round.”

Coun Gibson said the borough had also missed out on a separate £100,000 Government grant to help revitalise the area.

He added: “On the day of the Portas Pilot deadline the Government announced the High Street Innovation Fund – £100,000 to 100 areas.

“But as only seven per cent of Wyre’s shops are empty we were not successful.

“But there is no room for complacency, one shop is one too many.”

Other towns across the region to have prepared bids, along with 370 others across the UK, included Nelson in Lancashire which was one of the successful twelve.

Coun Gibson added: “We have to take positives from this and we can because it is the first time the borough has all got together to pull forward to see how we can promote Wyre.

“Looking forward I think we can continue to work together to create a high quality shopping offering throughout the whole of Wyre.”