Spalding bid to get slice of £5.5m regeneration pot

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A CRUSADE is to be launched to secure cash to revitalise Spalding’s high street.

South Holland and the Deepings MP John Hayes has vowed to lead a delegation made up of district councillors, traders and Spalding and District Area Chamber of Commerce to bid for a slice of a £5.5million support package announced by the government last week.

After Spalding was not included in the latest round of Portas Pilot towns, Mr Hayes has written to Local Government Minister Grant Shapps to express his interest in becoming a Town Team Partner.

As well as a cash injection, the new scheme would give Spalding the opportunity to take advantage of a range of help and advice, including direct mentoring support from experts and access to events, workshops and seminars addressing key challenges facing struggling town centres.

Mr Hayes said: “I am an enthusiastic campaigner for the high street and independent traders and Spalding would be a perfect town to be involved in this.

“Towns are characterised by their partiality, not by uniformity, so we need to retain and build more small, individual businesses.

“There are already some wonderful shops in Spalding, but I would like twice as many and that is what we should aim to do through this scheme.”

Mr Hayes says if Spalding were to receive money it would be best used improving the look and feel of the town centre, with new street furniture and signage top of the shopping list.

The Town Team Partner scheme has also been welcomed by South Holland District Council’s portfolio holder for economic development Coun Howard Johnson.

He said: “The announcement by Grant Shapps is an opportunity to help support and protect the economic prosperity of our town centre.

“We will be working closely with the Chamber of Commerce and John Hayes so that we can take advantage of any available help from the government.”

Mr Shapps said the new scheme had been launched in response to the overwhelming number of applications by towns wanting to become Portas Pilots and receive cash and the help and advice of TV’s Queen of Shops, retail expert Mary Portas.

He said: “I don’t want to lose the incredible momentum and I want to know that no town is left behind.

“Town Team Partners will be able to revive their high streets and make them the beating hearts of their communities once again.”