Tiverton named in second wave of Portas Pilot towns
Tiverton is the latest Westcountry town to be deemed a Portas Pilot town with a share of a £1.5 million Government pot to improve its high street.
The Devon town is the latest in a wave of 15 chosen locations due to be announced today, bringing the total number getting a helping hand to 27 across the UK.
Liskeard in South East Cornwall was in the earlier batch of 12, named after retail guru Mary Portas who carried out a review for the Government of the state of the high street.
Published in December last year, the document calls for Whitehall, local authorities and business to do more to breathe new life into town centres.
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Each location has a Town Team, which will take charge of making the changes.
Mary Portas said: "I am looking forward to seeing 15 more British towns putting their plans into action."
Local Government Minister Grant Shapps was due to make the announcement today.
He said: "I'd like to congratulate the 15 town teams that, in the face of stiff competition, have been selected to be the next Portas Pilots."
Tiverton's retail woes have been blamed on being within easy distance of Exeter with its bustling high street. In order to combat this, Tiverton's Town Team plan to turn a plot of unused land in the heart of the town into a coach park to attract the tourist parties that are already visiting neighbouring artisan towns.
The plan for Tiverton is to improve parking facilities to encourage more visitors and tourists to the town centre.
As well as the cash injection, the Town Team will have a dedicated contact point in government to provide advice and support to encourage greater local business growth. It will also receive free support from retail industry giants led by Boots, as well as from Mary Portas's team.
Martin Blackwell, chief executive of the Association of Town Centre Management, said: "The response to the challenge created by the government's response to the Mary Portas report from communities in towns and cities across England was enormous.
"It is terrific to see the government acknowledging that groundswell of activity in such a positive way."