Mystery trader’s boost for Diss Town Team after Portas bid failure

A mystery trader has pledged money to help the Diss Town Team initiate improvements to the town centre, including a new Disscover business plan.

Town team leader Oliver Chapman revealed the team had been offered a 'substantial sum' to fund improvements after the town failed in its bid for �1 from high street guru Mary Portas' Pilots scheme.

However, he did not wish to reveal the benefactor's identity.

The Portas Pilots scheme awarded 12 towns across the country up to �100,000 to pay for projects to revive their flagging town centres.

However, the Diss team decided to innovate by only bidding for �1 in the hope the shop tsar would select Diss as the 13th Pilot town and give the town much-needed publicity to drive the team's plans.

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But Mr Chapman said: 'The Town Team is going to carry on in the light of the Portas review as we are committed to seeing the town flourish and feel that it has been an excellent opportunity to bring people together for a common cause.

'Unfortunately, Diss did not make it through to become a Portas Pilot town, however it has inspired us to carry on the excellent work that the Diss Town Team has already started and shortly we will be publishing a business plan for the town centre.

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'I suppose we are disappointed to miss out, yes, but not surprised given the number of applications to become a Portas Pilot town. It is a bit like saying you are disappointed to miss out on the lottery.'

The Disscover business plan brands town centre businesses and attractions into different categories based on different colours, such as arts (pink), heritage (light green) and food (brown) to make it easier for visitors to find their way around the town centre.

Other ideas mooted to improve the town centre have included creating a wildlife corridor along Mere Street, offering two hours free parking in South Norfolk Council car parks and 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).

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