The government is expecting a deluge of applications this week from towns bidding to become one of the 12 Portas pilot sites.

Would-be test beds have until Friday to bid for a slice of the £1m up for grabs from the Department of Communities and Local Government, to trial ideas as part of high street tsar Mary Portas’ proposals.

The Association of Town Centre Management , which has run workshops across the country with interested towns, said there had been a “remarkable response” with more than 300 applications expected.

“The release of energy that has resulted from them is remarkable,” said ATCM chief executive, Martin Blackwell.

“The enthusiasm shown at these events has proved how passionate towns are in creating Town teams and bringing together their communities. There is a focus on improving town centres that hasn’t been felt in many years,” Blackwell added.