Market and heritage key to town’s Portas Pilot cash bid

Mary Queen of Shops visited Rugby today (Wednesday), where she spoke with local business owners.
Mary Queen of Shops visited Rugby today (Wednesday), where she spoke with local business owners.

BOSTON’S market forms the cornerstone of its bid to win the support of high street guru Mary Portas.

The town is bidding for a share of £1 million and the lucrative status as a Portas Pilot, a nationwide scheme to boost the fortunes of town centres.

The bid for a £100,000 high street boost was put together by a ‘town team’ led by Boston BID and centred on Boston’s history as well as its market.

The application also points out that English Heritage is already an investment partner with Boston and described it as one of the most significant market towns in the UK in terms of heritage and layout.

If the cash comes to Boston it will be spent on improving the street scene, developing the heritage trial and boosting the market further.

It will also fund street entertainment, encourage improvements by shop keepers to premises, strengthen links to parts of the town such as Wormgate, publicity and promotion and celebrate cultural differences, particularly cuisine.

The project would have a dedicated project manager and the public will be kept informed of progress through a number of traditional and modern methods, including an opportunity to have their approval or disapproval ratings registered via a ‘countdown clock’.

Boston BID manager, Niall Armstrong, said: “In producing the Portas Pilot bid we have tried to develop a strategy which will be of interest to the judges and meet the requirements of testing some of the recommendations contained in the Portas review.

“If we are successful the cash will enable some exciting projects to become reality and will help to promote the town to a far wider audience and so improve footfall and ultimately the profitability of businesses in the high street.”

Hundreds of bids have been submitted from all sorts of towns, large and small, across the country and the winners are to be announced in May.

A second tranche of applications for another 12 towns will be accepted in June.

If Boston is unsuccessful in the first round it automatically goes through to round two.