Portas cash for Brighton's London Road ‘going to waste’

Mary Portas

Mary Portas

First published in News

Traders are concerned cash from shopping guru Mary Portas to revitalise a fading high street could be wasted.

London Road’s business community is urging Brighton and Hove City Council to strike while “the iron is hot” and get momentum rolling on the major rejuvenation project for the busy thoroughfare.

Concerns have been raised of little progress on the Government-funded Portas Pilot scheme for London Road since funding was announced in July.

The area was one of 15 across the country chosen to be part of a project fronted by TV presenter Mary Portas.

Council officials say discussions have been held with other towns and Government officials to learn lessons from other schemes and that the first of the proposals could be in place from the start of next year. But Trevor Freeman, chairman of Brighton’s Federation of Small Businesses, said he was concerned the funding could actually harm the London Road area unless the council listened to businesses.

He said he was keen to make sure the money would be used to make sustainable and permanent improvements to the area and not just fade away like previous projects to redevelop the area.

Urgency Mr Freeman said: “We have got to strike while the iron is hot and make sure that this money will really make a difference.

“Every time there has been money made available in the past, we haven’t made it sustainable and the money has just faded away.

“The business community worry that if this is not handled correctly it could do more damage in the long term. I’m sure something will happen soon but the feeling is this is not being treated with the urgency it warrants.”

Shop security

Among the proposals included in the Portas Pilot bid are plans to introduce a security radio linking shops to tackle shoplifting and antisocial behaviour, pop-up art galleries to fill empty shops and shop space for young people to trial their business ideas.

A council spokeswoman said work was under way to generate additional funding to support the activities and a meeting is scheduled for later this month.

Shopper surveys will take place before Christmas to learn more about shopping trends and a series of public open days are also to take place. The council received £83,485 from the Government late last month to allow them to start work on the project.

“We have been working with a number of the round one Portas Pilots to find what has gone |right or wrong with their structures following a number of high-profile issues being reported,” said the council spokeswoman.

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Comments (6)

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5:11pm Thu 15 Nov 12

inadaptado says...

So this is the reason for the sudden obsession about London Road. It's always about the money.
So this is the reason for the sudden obsession about London Road. It's always about the money. inadaptado
  • Score: 0

6:30pm Thu 15 Nov 12

leobrighton says...

Whatever they do it will be a waste of money only recently some bizarre scheme was going on involving green baize road surfacing with picnic tables and tons of decking behind the shops must have cost a fortune, looked a mess and all disappeared within a couple of weeks. What an outrageous waste of cash that was. Heads should roll for that.
Whatever they do it will be a waste of money only recently some bizarre scheme was going on involving green baize road surfacing with picnic tables and tons of decking behind the shops must have cost a fortune, looked a mess and all disappeared within a couple of weeks. What an outrageous waste of cash that was. Heads should roll for that. leobrighton
  • Score: 0

7:34pm Thu 15 Nov 12

bug eye says...

I think the best ideas are for a security radio system and a zero tolerance on anti social behaviour, shop lifting, street drinking and loitering. The idea of handing over unused shops to young designers for clothes and art would help extend the north laine. many young designers have started in small units or markets in the past that was how they got noticed. finally the environment needs upgrading from paving to lighting to planting and shop fronts.
I think the best ideas are for a security radio system and a zero tolerance on anti social behaviour, shop lifting, street drinking and loitering. The idea of handing over unused shops to young designers for clothes and art would help extend the north laine. many young designers have started in small units or markets in the past that was how they got noticed. finally the environment needs upgrading from paving to lighting to planting and shop fronts. bug eye
  • Score: 0

6:32am Fri 16 Nov 12

stumpyshimmans says...

Stopped shopping in London Road when they put up on street parking charges. Now shop out of town or online. This is why Town Centres are dying.
Stopped shopping in London Road when they put up on street parking charges. Now shop out of town or online. This is why Town Centres are dying. stumpyshimmans
  • Score: 0

6:33am Fri 16 Nov 12

stumpyshimmans says...

Stopped shopping in London Road when they put up on street parking charges. Now shop out of town or online. This is why Town Centres are dying.
Stopped shopping in London Road when they put up on street parking charges. Now shop out of town or online. This is why Town Centres are dying. stumpyshimmans
  • Score: 0

6:33am Fri 16 Nov 12

stumpyshimmans says...

Stopped shopping in London Road when they put up on street parking charges. Now shop out of town or online. This is why Town Centres are dying.
Stopped shopping in London Road when they put up on street parking charges. Now shop out of town or online. This is why Town Centres are dying. stumpyshimmans
  • Score: 0

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