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.

9 comments

  • LOL...£10k not rally a life changer for the town is it? This is just a cheap publicity stunt which won't fool anyone.

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    Kingy

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • Why are three Suffolk towns named in the Headline and Thetford only as an afterthought? I thought the EDP was a Norfolk newspaper and that the sister paper the EADT covered SuffolkEssex news. Poor old Thetford it seems that only bad news about the town is worth headlining

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    caroline jacobs

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • Kingy: Exactly!

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    Trawlerboyinexile

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • It's a bit late for Southwold, where Gentian, property speculators and developers are, with the assistance of a "local" (really a Londoner) architect, busy buying up the retail premises in the High Street to do PRECISELY THE OPPOSITE to what Ms. Portas envisages.

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    T Doff

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • £10,000. How much does a giant tv screen cost for a town centre. Now there's an idea . No perhaps not. LOL

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    vegas

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • @Spooky. I was in Yarmouth the other day; the first visit for a few months. Every other shop was shut or empty, a couple of pubs closed down, about 50% of the Arcade premises unoccupied, and the air of doom and gloom was palpable. £10k is derisory, and wouldn't put a dash of lipstick on the place. It all needs a completely different approach, very much what you suggest, but I doubt it'll get it. No council will help, the various governments, especially the current one, seem dead set on wrecking the country and its institutions from end to end (apart from anything their pals can make a few bob out of, that is).

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    T Doff

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • Thetford will only waste the money anyway. Perhaps another clock tower

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    Jacob Burns

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • I wonder how much of each town's £10,000 will be spent on a team of planners deciding how it should be spent? There'll probably be enough left over for a hanging basket!

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    BabyDavid

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • It's not the council that could use the money unwisely, it's the department that it's given to. Grants from the government go to certain departments within councils and it's a team from that department who decide where the money will be more useful. You will always find stupid ideas put on the table, such as using the money to bring in an outsider to look at ways to enhance the town centre to encourage businesses when that department could very easily do it themselves. They could use the money to upgrade the lighting, repair paving slabs (seafront probably), clean up the chewing gum or waste it somewhere else. It will take months for them to decide what to do with it and if they bring the Town Centre Manager in on it, it will definately be wasted. £10,000 is not going to bring big businesses to Yarmouth because Yarmouth has no business, it's seasonal, the locals aren't going to shop every day for clothes, shoes, furniture, bedding, cookers, washing machines etc, etc, so why on earth would big businesses want to set up shop here, what Yarmouth needs is to get rid of half the second hand shops, most of the silly little mini-markets that keep turning up (especially on King Street) and get back to having a decent butcher's, a decent baker's, there is now a decent fishmongers down King Street, a decent stationary shop like Rymans was and other shop's like it, an ironmongers as well would be good for people that can't get to the likes of B&Q. Would they consider these things, probably not, after all there has not been any update yet on what's happening with the old Co-op store or the empty shops in Market Gates.

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    Spooky

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

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