Town still set for Government funds
ALTHOUGH Tonbridge's bid to improve its High Street by becoming a "Portas Pilot" town has been snubbed a second time, the town centre could still benefit from Government funds.
Businesses joined with the borough council earlier this year to form the Tonbridge Town Team to submit a bid for a share of £1 million and the expert advice of retail guru Mary Portas. The 12 winners were announced in May, leaving Tonbridge and almost 400 other UK communities disappointed.
Last week a further 15 towns, including Brighton and Ashford, were awarded pilot status by Local Government Minister Grant Shapps who also announced a £5.5 million support programme for unsuccessful applicants.
Mr Shapps said: "I'm determined that we don't turn our backs on the other 392 town teams who put their plans forward to revive their high streets.
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"That's why I'm calling on these communities, led by their MPs, to put themselves forward once again to become Town Team Partners. Each one that applies will benefit from a package of support to refine their plans and get the help and advice they need."
Partners will be able to attend seminars, receive visits from experts and meet regularly with other town teams to share their experiences.
They will also benefit from a new web-based encyclopaedia, 100 Ways to Help the High Street, which will be hosted and run by the Association of Town Centre Management.