A new scheme will be launched next month to aid towns that missed out on the first two phases of ‘Portas pilots’ cash.

The Association of Town Centre Management said it was providing support worth £5.5m for the scores of towns that unsuccessfully applied to the government-backed Portas scheme.

It begins with a series of talks at the London School of Economic on 5 September, with keynote speakers from the worlds of planning and retail.

The body said it aimed to establish a “community-led movement to develop the high streets of the future… that do not solely rely on retail and that meet the needs of local people”.