Town misses out on Portas cash

THE people behind Boston’s bid to win support from TV star Mary Portas will still try to deliver the changes they hoped she could inspire in the town - despite missing out on her help for the second time.

Last week 15 more ‘Portas Pilots’ were announced as the second group to win the expertise of ‘Mary Queen of Shops’ – who is advising the Government – and £100,000 to breathe life into their high streets.

Boston was not on that list but BID manager Niall Armstrong believes that the steering group for the Portas project can make a difference regardless.

Mr Armstrong said: “Obviously yes we are disappointed but the group we got together has a desire to carry on meeting, albeit without the benefit of Mary Portas and the funding.

“Boston has got an awful lot to offer. It wouldn’t take much to see a big step change.

“I think the key is acting as a community.

“If businesses and the community comes together and makes an effort then we can change an awful lot very quickly.

“If everybody works together then everybody benefits.”

Mr Armstrong pointed to the example of the efforts made by a small group to tidy an area near the White Hart for the Britain in Bloom bid.

He believes that can act as a blueprint for further action.

Mr Armstrong said the main focus for the steering group now is to put as much effort as possible into the town’s Christmas weekend, planned to begin on November 30.

The areas selected to become Portas Pilots were Ashford, Berwick, Braintree, Brighton, Hatfield, Leamington, Liverpool, three areas in London, Loughborough, Lowestoft, Morecambe, Rotherham and Tiverton.

Boston’s steering group had announced they planned to spend the money on improving the town’s look, developing its heritage trail and investing in the twice-weekly market.

It also wanted to fund street entertainment, improve shop fronts and pay for publicity and promotion of the town.