SHAPPS OFFERS ‘PORTAS-PLUS’ PLAN TO REVIVE AILING HIGH STREETS

Hundreds of towns to bid for Portas status as Minister unveils response to Mary’s High Street Review

Towns across the country have got their applications in ahead of today’s deadline (30th March 2012) in the hope of becoming Portas Pilots. Ministers will reveal the unexpectedly high level of interest whilst announcing that the Government is accepting virtually all the recommendations put forward by Mary Portas last December.

The Government will today for the first time issue its formal response to the Portas High Street Review. Ministers are expected to say that they are accepting the vast majority of Mary’s recommendations – but that they intend to go further with a raft of new incentives, funding schemes and bureaucracy-busting measures, all in a bid to rejuvenate the country’s rundown High Streets

In what Ministers are referring to as their ‘Portas Plus’ response a new package of help has been drawn up including:

    • A multi-million pound High Street Innovation Fund – kick started by £10m of taxpayers money focussed on bringing empty shops back into use – which, if supplemented by both councils and landlords, could see £30 million going to support new business start-ups whilst bringing empty high Street properties back into use
    • A £1m Future High-Street X-Fund, which will be awarded to the locations which deliver the most creative and effective schemes to revitalising the high streets in a year’s time
    • A National Markets Day, launching a National Markets Fortnight, to celebrate the role markets can play, help aspiring entrepreneurs try out their business ideas, and encourage more visitors to town centres
    • A £500,000 fund for Business Improvement Districts, to help Town Centres access loans for their set-up costs
    • Launching a further round of Portas Pilots, to trial some of Mary’s recommendations and come up with new ideas the breathing life into underused high streets. This is in response to the massive interest from hundreds of locations across the country sparked by the first wave of 12 pilots launched last month.

Grant Shapps said:

“Today, I’m accepting virtually all of the recommendations from Mary Portas’s review – but I’m also going that one step further, offering a ‘Portas-Plus’ deal, with a range of measures designed to help local people turn their high streets into the beating hearts of their communities once again.

“Mary Portas’s review made crystal clear the stark challenge our high streets face.  With Internet shopping and out-of-town centres here to stay, they must offer something new if they are to entice visitors back.

“Her report has provided the catalyst for change that many towns have been craving.  I now want to see people coming together to form their own town teams and turning their creative ideas into reality to ensure their high streets thrive long into the future.”

Martin Blackwell, chief executive at the Association of Town Centre Management, said:

“We all recognise that the High Street in 10 or even five years will be radically different to that we see today.  This government’s approach, shown in the response to Mary’s report, is giving local communities the opportunity to shape the future High Street they want to see in their town”.

Responding to the first recommendation in the review, Mr Shapps said he wanted to see hundreds of town teams – made up of key players in the local area including the council, local landlords, business owners and local MPs –being formed and mobilised across the country to drive forward the necessary change.

Shapps will encourage these town teams to consider:

    • How their high streets can become the “beating heart of the community”, offering more than just retail with entertainment venues and leisure facilities, as well as housing and local public services;
    • How they can work with councils to use the forthcoming new powers to offer local business rate discounts, and to ensure businesses are aware of the option to spread the payment of the retail price index increase in business rates bills  over three years, giving them the flexibility to manage their bills and help their cashflow.  This is in addition to Small business rate relief, which in England has been doubled for two years, from 1 October 2010 to 30 September 2012.
    • How they could stimulate a vibrant evening economy by encouraging local shops to open later, offering a service to people as they come home from work, rather than them rely solely on online shopping
    • How they could make more imaginative and exciting use of public spaces and remove street clutter to make town centres more pleasant for visitors.

And confirming the Government was accepting a number of other key recommendations to cut red tape and entice motorists to the town centre, Mr Shapps will give a commitment to:

    • Help councils revoke unnecessary and archaic byelaws through a new streamlined process – enabling  outdated rules hindering efforts to get new markets and businesses up and running to be swiftly scrapped;
    • Reform current planning rules to allow the conversion of space above
      shops to two flats, rather than the current limit of one; and
    • Consult on abolishing centrally-set minimum parking charges, to give councils the flexibility to levy lower parking penalty notices if they choose.  We will also take steps to ensure greater transparency on parking charges to introduce greater competition between town centres
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About Clare Bailey

Clare Bailey, The Retail Champion (formerly Clare Rayner), is one of the most well-known and respected retail experts in the UK. With unrivalled knowledge in retail, high streets and consumer matters, she offers unbiased, independent content – whether engaged as a professional speaker, for broadcast media, or for a written feature. Clare is a business woman, entrepreneur and founder of several small businesses. Having been born into a family of successful business owners, it was inevitable that she’d eventually jump off the corporate treadmill and step out on her own! Today her brand portfolio includes The Retail Champion, The Retail Conference, the Future High Street Summit and the Support for Independent Retail campaign. In addition, she is co-founder of Mobaro Retail UK and a non-exec director of Beed Virtual Assistant Services. Having started her career as a fast-track store management trainee for McDonalds, she went on to work with leading retailers such as M&S, Dixons and Argos. She moved swiftly into management roles before being headhunted into senior consulting roles with global software giant SAP, and international management consulting brand, Accenture. Her corporate background in senior retail, consulting and technology roles, coupled with her experience of creating and running her own business, has enabled her to be equally capable whether consulting to global brands or micro businesses. This unique blend has not only positioned her as a leading expert in all things retail, but has enabled her to add meaningful commentary and insight to the debate around the future of the high street, and, how technology is driving fundamental change in the way consumers, and businesses, interact. Clare has become an influential voice in her field, which has resulted in her becoming a regular media contributor and sought-after conference speaker. Often seen on Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, Sky News, and Chanel 5 (to name a few), Clare speaks on a myriad of retail, high street and consumer issues – but is particular adept when it comes to explaining the context behind retail trading results, newly released data, and government stats, in a palatable and informative manner. In addition to broadcast and conference speaking, Clare is the proud author of two best-selling business books published by Kogan Page - The Retail Champion: 10 Steps to Retail Success, published July 2012 and How to Sell to Retail: The Secrets of Getting Your Product to Market, published February 2013. She has provided contributions to various academic texts, including Retail Marketing Management (published by Pearson). With an engaging, conversational yet informative style, Clare writes for press and content agencies, providing features, articles, blogs and opinion pieces as well as contributions to white papers and reports. However, when the situation demands a more serious style, Clare can deliver - In 2016 she wrote an extensive report for a major insurance and risk law firm, as a retail expert witness, to support a public liability suit. She found that project particularly enjoyable as it played well to her strengths – assimilating large amounts of data and information, identifying the key points and articulating that in an understandable manner. When not on TV or speaking at conferences, Clare’s “day job” sees her supporting consumer-facing businesses through her consultancy services. When asked to describe what she most loves about retail consulting it is typically the opportunity to “dig deep”, getting “under the bonnet”, in order to leverage the business data to uncover the insights that lead to “lightbulb moments”. She also loves working on business change programmes that centre on improving the processes and systems to increase profitability by supporting more rapid, better informed decision making, improving the customer experience, or simply by become more efficient and streamlined. In this respect she considers herself a “business engineer” with a brain that works like a relational database! Due to her years of experience, her logical, objective approach, her quick, rational thinking, she is known for being able to cut through complexity, seeing right through to the crux of issues, finding creative solutions that others may have overlooked. As if all that wasn’t enough, Clare is a working mum, juggling a home life in rural Lincolnshire with her partner, their 5 kids, 4 cats, and geriatric Labrador! For all enquiries, contact Clare directly on 01727 238890 or email champion@retailchampion.co.uk.
This entry was posted in Independent Retailer Month, The Retail Champion, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to SHAPPS OFFERS ‘PORTAS-PLUS’ PLAN TO REVIVE AILING HIGH STREETS

  1. Michèle Haddon says:

    This is excellent and much needed news! Great article Clare.

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