Deadline approaching for Portas Pilots bids

Time is almost up for businesses to show their support for a campaign to secure up to �100,000 funding from the Portas Pilots scheme to help improve Diss town centre.

Today is the final day for supporters to get behind the Diss Town Team as it fights for a share of a �1m pot set up by TV high street guru Mary Portas and local government minister Grant Shapps to help fund improvements to 12 town centres.

Diss Town Council backed the team, which is made up of retailers, traders and councillors, at a meeting on Wednesday to continue fighting for improvements even if the Portas bid proves to be unsuccessful.

The team has put together a Disscover business plan to make the town more attractive and is also looking for volunteers to help win the RHS Britain in Bloom competition.

Among the ideas to improve the town so far is the creation of a wildlife corridor along Mere Street using planters full of wildflowers, dressing up empty shop fronts to promote the Diss Heritage Triangle (the area between the Corn Hall, St Mary's Church and the market place), and encouraging shopkeepers to sign up to a charter to keep the street outside their shops tidy, make their windows interesting and keep flower displays watered.

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Charity shops could offer a small area where young people could display and sell their own products.

Anyone with ideas can stick them on a cutout of Mary Portas which is going round Diss, or call town team leader Oliver Chapman on 01379 650468 or email

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