Group still positive despite Portas blow

PUBLISHED: 08:00 01 June 2012 | UPDATED: 14:23 01 June 2012



A COMMUNITY group bidding for £100,000 of Government money to improve Weston town centre has vowed not to give up despite being left disappointed after missing out on the first round of cash.

The Portas Pilot scheme aims to provide town centres with a share of a £1.2million pot for improvements.

Weston Centre Of Gravity (COG) was one of the groups pushing for the cash, putting forward the idea of having a community hub building in Weston. The Government has announced there will be a second round of cash available due to the sheer number of applications it received – 370 in total.

COG says it plans to have another go at securing the funding.

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

“I can announce a second round of the competition will see 15 more town centres benefit from this unique opportunity.

“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.”

Now, COG is asking Mercury readers how their bid could be improved and what they would like to see in the town centre.

Spokesman Sam Maher said: “We’re calling on people to rally around this bid and help us make it a strong vision for the development of Weston.”

To get in touch with COG, email or find @WestonCOG on Twitter.

A bid for £99,000 from the Burnham town team was also rejected, although hopes remain for a successful second bid.

The town team’s Portas Pilot application was submitted with a video of more than 200 supporters, indicating the money would be used to modernise Burnham and help it become a flourishing shopping centre.

Team member Beverly Milner Simonds said: “We are interested in the successful towns which have a similar demographic to us and hopefully we will be able to pick up some tips.

“We will be applying for the second round, making a few tweaks to the bid and updating some of our ideas.

“We thought we had a strong bid, but we will be bringing an even stronger bid next time.”

To get involved in the Burnham town team find it on Facebook or find @Bostownteam on Twitter.

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