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Portas Pilot Town

Following the Mary Portas review on Town Centre’s the government backed a scheme for towns to enter an application to become a ‘Portas Pilot Town’ which meant upto £100,000 of funding per town, mentoring from large organisations including Boots and John Lewis, support from the Portas Pilot organisation plus lots more this was to help solve the issues within each town according to the Portas Review document.

In the first round there were 12 successful towns which then led to the Government announcing a second round. There were over 400 entries to the second round and Lowestoft was one of 15 successful towns only 12 of which were outside London. Lowestoft will now receive all of the above and also regular workshops with the other Portas Pilot Towns to enable everyone to discuss their ideas and find out what is working for their towns so that everybody can share their successes.

Lowestoft’s projects are:

  • The provision of Street Rangers - these will act as additional security within the town and also as information points for visitors.
  • Mentoring Scheme – working with local schools & colleges to provide a mentoring scheme for students who would like to work in a retail environment, also this will be used as mentoring between large and small retailers to enhance customer service and other skills.
  • Voucher Scheme – we are working to introduce a discount voucher scheme into the town which will suit all businesses.      
  • The Town Team also plan to introduce additional maps and marketing boards to highlight forthcoming attractions that the high street has to offer.

As Lowestoft Town Management Partnership (LTMP) are currently working towards a Business Improvement District (BID) the Portas Pilot status will be an added incentive because we can start some of the initiatives immediately and the BID would then give them sustainability, it will give Lowestoft a strong, positive future if we achieve them both.

Both of these projects work alongside what LTMP has been doing for the last few years and will allow LTMP to achieve some of our goals much quicker, they also prove how strong LTMP has become in Lowestoft.
LTMP are very proud and absolutely delighted to have been chosen as a Portas Pilot in the second round of applications. Becoming a Portas Pilot is valued recognition for a town that has been through so many difficulties but due to the passion of the people working within it has managed to ride the storms and can now work towards a more positive future.

Over the last few years LTMP has developed their ‘Town Team’ which includes a variety of both independent and national retailers, the police, local council, Marina Theatre, Church and the Mayors Office enabling it to become a strong ‘voice’ for the town – something which is already in line with the Portas Review and we now look forward to developing this and other projects with the funding received.

In a letter to Emma King, Chamber’s Town Centre Manager, The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, Minister for Housing and Local Government said of the Lowestoft Portas Pilot application:

‘Your town of Lowestoft has shown the leadership, energy, enthusiasm and vision to make a real difference to your local high street and make it the hub of your community.’

Emma King, said “Our thanks go out to the retailers for their patience and trust in LTMP and the Chamber of Commerce. We would also like to thank our partners including Waveney District Council for all their help in the submission of the Portas Pilot application. We are extremely thrilled to be working on the Portas Pilot for the future of our lovely town and making Lowestoft the destination it deserves to be.”

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