A plan to transform the riot-stricken streets of Croydon with a new co-operative of stores is one of the plans awarded £120,000 apiece under the government’s Portas Pilots initiative.
Local government minister Grant Shapps revealed on Saturday the first 12 successful towns to be chosen to trial ideas inspired by the Mary Portas Report.
Croydon’s pilot, which follows the devastation caused in last summer’s violence, is aimed at transforming the area’s historic Old Town market into a food and cultural quarter.
Other winners include Margate’s plans to reinvigorate its town centre, including the use of pop up shops, whereas in Cornwall, the Liskeard Portas Pilot won backing from ministers after a plan to “battle against the edge of town supermarket”, with plans including an evening market and flash mob tactics.
Shapps praised what he called the “exceptional quality” of the winning bids, which will each receive a slice of £1.2 million and a tailored package of support from the government and Portas herself.
“Together these pilots can be the vanguard of a high street revolution, and others can look to their example to kick start a renaissance of our town centres,” said Shapps.
“It’s now clearer to me than ever that Britain wants its town centres revitalised and the energy and accountability for that needs to rest with the people who live and do business there,” added Portas.
The full list of winners is Bedford, Croydon, Dartford, Bedminster, Liskeard, Margate, Market Rasen, Nelson, Newbiggin by the Sea, Stockport, Stockton on Tees and Wolverhampton.
15 more pilots will be named by the end of July, including three funded by the Greater London Authority.