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Brighton's London Road gets £100k Portas cash
Brighton's London Road area will receive up to £100,000 of regeneration cash after being named as one of the Portas Pilot high streets.
Their bid is one of just 15 from 392 applications to be chosen as part of the Government’s scheme to breathe new life into the UK’s shopping areas.
Along with the cash, they will receive expert advice from TV retail guru Mary Portas and her team.
Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, chairman of the council’s economic development and culture committee, described it as a “fantastic result”.
He said: “I’m now expecting this energy, the new money and our forthcoming new open market to eventually turn around London Road’s fortunes.”
The team will use the cash to introduce a security radio linking shops to tackle shoplifting and antisocial activity, as well as introducing pop-up art galleries to fill empty shops.
They will also look to increase public art events to boost the night-time economy and provide spaces for young people to trial their business ideas.
Oliver De Trafford, from Moshka Caffe in York Place, who was involved in the application, said: “It is fantastic news and will hopefully be the beginning of meaningful change in |the area.
“We have been here for coming up to five years and it has been a struggle to survive.
“Hopefully the money will be used to fill empty shops, improve cleanliness and work on easy access to the area.”
David Litchfield, development manager of Phoenix Media, who was also involved in the bid, added: “We really needed that shot in the arm and we now need to make sure we use the money wisely.
“Our main area of expertise is in filling the empty shops.
“This will be through a mixture of art exhibitions, pop-up cafes and restaurants, as well as areas for young people to try out their business |ventures.
“It just shows what you can achieve when you all get together as a group and put your heart and soul into a project.”
As well as the funding, the area will get a dedicated contact point in Government to provide advice, free support from Mary Portas’s team and retail industry giants such as Boots and opportunities to meet and share notes with other Portas Pilot groups.
Among the other 14 areas chosen are Braintree, the Lodge Lane suburb of Liverpool and Loughborough.
They will join 12 others who were awarded funding in the first round of handouts in May.
The bid was a combined effort by City College Brighton and Hove , The Federation of Small Businesses, London Road Local Action Team, traders and the council.
Michael Green, chief executive of the British Council of Shopping Centres, said: “This is a critical ongoing initiative for Britain and the city – a plan to revitalise communities and kick start economic growth.”