Ipswich: Leaders look to the future after missing out on Portas cash

A COMMUNITY leader today insisted Ipswich has a bright future despite missing out on becoming a “Portas Pilot” which would have entitled the town to funding and advice on how to regenerate the high street.

The first 12 towns to receive a share of �1.2million have now been named but no towns from East Anglia, including Ipswich and Felixstowe, were successful in their bids.

A second batch of pilots are set to be announced in July and David Ellesmere, Ipswich Borough Council leader, insisted the town will put forward another bid.

He said: “It is disappointing but I think it has been really positive just going through the process and working with the market traders on St Peter’s and St Nicholas Street to try and liven that area up.

“There’s going to be another round and our bid will go forward to that.

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“Even if we don’t win that round, it has been positive because it has made us think about what we need to do to breathe life into the town centre.”

Cathy Frost, who has helped set up markets in St Peter’s Street and also helped with the bid, added: “We haven’t been snubbed.

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“There were only 12 bids that could get it. It would have been lovely to have the money but we are still active and we will carry on.”

The competition was spearheaded by TV retail expert, Mary Portas, in the hope of breathing new life into the country’s unused and unloved high streets.

About 370 applications were made in the first round and local government minister Grant Shapps selected the lucky towns, which included Market Rasen, Bedford, Croydon and Dartford.

Mr Shapps said there was no need for unsuccessful applicants to reapply, but they could sharpen up their bids if they wished and submit them again by 30 June, which was also the deadline for new town teams to apply.

He said: “The quality and sheer number of applications has been overwhelming - 12 winning bids now have the chance receive expert advice and financial support, but I believe more towns deserve to be selected.

Ms Portas added: “My sincere congratulations to everyone who entered.”

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