£100,000 to revamp high street

Mary Portas
Mary Portas

HARTLEPOOL has been given a £100,000 boost as part of a TV celebrity’s bid to revamp the country’s high streets.

Hartlepool Borough Council will receive the six figure sum as part of a multi-million pound High Street Innovation Fund in a bid to bring empty properties back into use.

Mary Portas, a retail advisor, journalist and TV presenter, was approached by the Government to help rejuvenate the country’s retail sector.

Ministers have now issued their formal response to her Portas High Street Review and say they have added to a range of incentives, funding schemes and bureaucracy-busting measures put forward by the shop guru.

They include the sums of £100,000 going to councils to rejuvenate areas, a £1m Future High-Street X-Fund, which will be awarded to the locations that deliver the most creative and effective schemes to revitalising the high streets in a year’s time, and a £500,000 fund for Business Improvement Districts to help town centres access loans for their set-up costs.

Grant Shapps, Housing and Local Government Minister, said: “Mary Portas’s review made crystal clear the stark challenge our high streets face. With internet shopping and out-of-town centres here to stay, they must offer something new if they are to entice visitors back.

“Her report has provided the catalyst for change that many towns have been craving. 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.”

Hundreds of towns across the country have also got their applications in before yesterday’s deadline in the hope of becoming Portas Pilots.

Those selected will trial some of Portas’s recommendations and come up with new ideas to breath life into under-used high streets.