HIGH Street traders at Wombwell have lost out in their initial bid to attract ‘Mary Portas’ Government funding for a High Street rejuvenation.
But despite their disappointment at not being included as one of the 12 initial pilot schemes that will receive £100,000 to boost their trade, they are not despondent.
The Wombwell Community Board members will now meet to consider whether they should make changes to their application - in a second bid to qualify for a cash handout.
Dave Cole, treasurer of the community board that was formed for the bid from a mix of traders and volunteers with representatives from the private sector, elected council members, council amenities section, police and senior citizens, said: “We are not browbeaten. We had a pleasant letter telling us we had not been successful this time but inviting us to re-submit our application for the next round of grants, that will be decided by July.
“We were congratulated on the work we have done so far. We tried our best but there were 371 applicants and so most people were going to be turned down. We knew that.”
The Wombwell bid was for large canopies to cover the main pedestrianised section of High Street.
The massive, fixed umbrella-like structures would cover the town’s market stalls for three days, then provide shelter for the display of crafts and artwork by local groups on remaining weekdays.
No Yorkshire schemes were included in this first raft of awardees, so Wombwell are hoping this may give them more chance subsequently.
Local Government Minister Grant Shapps said a second round of the competition will see 15 further towns benefit and added “together these pilots can be the vanguard of a high street revolution, and others can look to their example to kick start a renaissance of our town centres.”
Meanwhile Mary Portas told delegates at a “High Street Camp” conference that she will work directly alongside several of the winners and that Channel 4 will make a reality TV show about their experiences.
The chief of national charity Action for Market Towns, that provides training and support to more than 450 town councils, community and town partnerships, and local authorities, said: “The sheer volume of 371 applications shows the enormous need for more widespread action to tackle the decline in Britain’s high streets.”