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24 February 2012

Portas Pilots - Urgent!

We have just heard from Lewisham that the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is inviting partnerships to pilot the idea of ‘Town Teams’ set out in the Portas Review.

The Portas Review believes that Town Teams can help drive innovation in the way the high street is managed, and develop a strategic and collaborative approach, and should be made up of a wide range of local interests including landlords, developers, retailers, local authorities and local communities.

DCLG are looking for 12 pilots and are offering successful bidders grant funding of up to £100k each. Given that only 12 pilots will be funded across the country, and in order for Lewisham to have the best chance of success of having one of these pilots in the borough, the Council will support one application. Forest Hill has been offered the chance to submit an application to Lewisham as the Town Centre is one of the ward priorities.

If you feel that would be interested in putting together an application for our town centre then please let us know by Monday 27 February, with some of your initial ideas so that we can submit an initial bid to Lewisham by Friday, 2 March. We can be contacted on (07833) 315563 or by email

The Council will then review these initial expressions of interest and choose one area to support with a more detailed application. In considering which area to support, they will take into account previous investment in that area.

Selection of the pilots by DCLG will be based on the following criteria:

  • Mix. The twelve pilots will be a mix of high street types, geographical spread and areas with both low and high vacancy rates.
  • Strong Leadership. Pilots must have a transformational vision for their high street and the backing for this from their community and partners.
  • Commitment. Pilots must demonstrate commitment to the approach amongst businesses, landlords, the community and local authority.
  • Potential for improvement. Resources will be allocated on a value for money basis.
  • Innovation. DCLG are looking for the most innovative ideas that will have maximum impact and could be replicated elsewhere.

The deadline for applications is 30 March to DCLG, with successful applicants announced in May. Further information and the application form can be downloaded from the DCLG website. Each partnership application must identify an ‘Accountable Body’ which will be the local authority. A confirmation letter from the local authority is required with the application.

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