Take action on Portas Review proposals

The Empty Shops Network has welcomed the government's response to the Portas Review into town centres.

Funding is being given to 100 towns from a new £10 million High Street Innovation Fun. £100,000 will be given to the 100 towns in England with the highest empty shops rates, and that funding can make a real difference to our failing town centres if it unlocks local potential.

However, it is being given to local authorities and a similar initiative under the last government saw mixed results, as councils could choose how to spend the money and were not held accountable for how effective their ideas were.

So we're calling for Grant Shapps, the minister reponsible for the money, to:

  • Encourage a Big Society approach, with local authorities urged to work with local residents, independent business and especially young people to form alternative Town Teams to tackle problems
  • A pledge from the government to measure, evaluate and report openly about how the money is used and the impact it has - with failure a perfectly acceptable outcome if it means testing ideas and innovative thinking

The Empty Shops Network has always believed in a 'do it' approach and while the minister has some power, so do people living in the towns and cities receiving the funding. So we're also calling for people living in the 100 towns and cities to:

  • Read the Pop Up People report today
  • Work with fellow local residents to create campaigns supporting local independents, reusing empty shops and bringing new life to public spaces - and let us know about them once they're up and running
  • Contact their local councillor today, and tell them your ideas for spending the £100,000
  • Email your MP, today, asking them to read Pop Up People, ensure people are involved in plans, to pledge their personal oversight of how the money is spent, and promise to publish a brief report at the end of the year

Today's announcement has created a real opportunity for change in our town centres; let's make the most of it.


Dan Thompson

Director, Empty Shops Network

 

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Take action on Portas Review proposals
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