SPALDING has joined the race to become a “Portas Pilot” and receive £100,000 to boost the town centre and stop the haemmorhage of local cash being spent at neighbouring shopping centres.
South Holland District Council is leading the bid and submitted an application, which included a video highlighting why the town needs the cash, just hours before the deadline on Thursday.
If successful it would become one of ten towns and cities across the country to receive a share of multi-million pound Government funding to trial recommendations by Queen of Shops Mary Portas (pictured, inset) in her High Street Review.
She came up with a number of ideas to breathe new life into town centres, which the Government has said it intends to implement, including the introduction of “town teams” to drive forward necessary change.
Mark Stanton, district council economic development manager, said: “This is an opportunity to bid for money which would further enhance the work already being done to redevelop Spalding town centre.
“This is a process that was really kick-started by the development of the Red Lion Quarter and we aim to build on the excellent progress we have made to ensure that the town centre continues to be an attractive and thriving place to do business.
“Portas Pilot status for Spalding would provide excellent value for money for taxpayers by adding real value to the development already planned for the town centre and will help to secure potential private sector investment.”
The bid, which has the backing of Spalding and District Area Chamber of Commerce, follows a pledge by Holland Market owner Corbo to provide a six-figure pot of cash to rejuvenate the town centre as part of its redevelopment plans.
This week a new website has been launched to promote the development, which will include a new bus station (see page 9) as well as a town square, green space and enhanced retail and leisure facilities.
Michael Moran, on behalf of Corbo, said: “As the Government and Mary Portas point out, town centres are at the heart of communities.
“Recent survey results indicate that Spalding loses £132million of retail spending every year to nearby competing centres.
“This is a huge figure and is the reason why new retail is needed to stop Spalding falling further behind.”