Towns across Norfolk and Suffolk are celebrating after they were each awarded £10,000 to improve their high streets to help boost trade.

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Great Yarmouth, Diss, Thetford, Aylsham, North Walsham, Hunstanton, Brandon, Southwold, and Halesworth have been named as Portas town team partners by the government and received the cash boost as part of high profile campaign inspired by retail guru Mary Portas.

Some of the towns had been left disappointed in May when they missed out on the chance to get £100,000 to help revitalise their high streets by becoming Portas town pilot towns.

After May’s announcement towns were then encouraged to bid for the chance of getting the £10,000 funding from the department of communities and local government.

Diss town team leader Oliver Chapman said: “On behalf of the Diss Town Team I am delighted that we have been selected by the government to be a town team partner.

“The £10,000 that we have been granted will be used to promote our Disscover: Diss marketing campaign. This is just one of many strategies in our business plan, all of which share the single aim of increasing footfall in the town centre.

“We’re extremely grateful to Richard Bacon MP for putting us forward, and welcome his and many others’ continuing support for the behind-the-scenes work we are doing”.James Wagner, chairman of Halesworth Town Council, said it was a great boost to the town after some tireless work by the Town Team.

He said they were knocked back by not getting selected but that the town had been united by it.

Mr Wagner said: “It has been amazing. It really has brought the town together, and united different people from different areas.”

The MP for Suffolk Coastal Dr Therese Coffey said: “I was pleased to support bids from Halesworth and Southwold.

“I am delighted their applications were all successful.”

“Each bid will shortly be receiving £10,000 to spend on improvements to the town, to increase the vitality and to boost footfall.”

Nationally there were 370 bids for the Portas town pilot scheme with only 12 being selected in May - but in a second tranche of the project Lowestoft was one of 15 communities in July nationally to be awarded £100,000.

The government launched the pilot town scheme to help high streets fight fierce competition from internet shopping and out-of-town shopping centres after Ms Portas had compiled a report on the problem.

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