Stevenage bid for Mary Portas cash

Stevenage is bidding to be one of the first towns chosen for ideas put forward in Mary Portas’ review of town centres.

The borough council is bidding to be one of 12 towns chosen for the implementation of business and community boosting recommendations by the TV shopping guru.

The authority is working alongside the town centre management company, as well as local businesses, shoppers and landlords in developing its bid for a share of the �1m investment available through the Portas Pilot Scheme.

John Gardner, executive member for environment and regeneration, said the main challenge facing Stevenage is not one of low occupancy rates but the need to address outside perceptions and attract investment.

“Stevenage town centre constantly seeks to improve and diversify its retail offer. This will be achieved by our town team working together to encourage new good quality retailers offering shoppers more choice, particularly in fashion and general merchandise. The Old Town High Street has a strong market town feel amongst traders, with a number of independent boutiques and a thriving night time economy.”

Tracey Parry, Stevenage town centre manager, added: “We are keen to promote more collaboration at a local level, to engage with the community and the businesses that have a vested interest in revitalising and rejuvenating both the town centre and the Old Town High Street.

“Success in our bid to become one of the 12 towns in the Mary Portas pilot scheme will help the town team partnership achieve this, attract quality retail investment and enhance the shopping experience in Stevenage.”