Chesham High Street
A CAMPAIGN group that was unsuccessful in bidding for a town to become a Portas Pilot has said it is still planning to go ahead with its ideas, despite losing out on the £100,000 grant.
In June, Better Chesham put in a second bid for the town to be picked as one of 12 Portas Pilots, a scheme launched by shopping guru Mary Portas and local government minister Grant Shapps, with winners each receiving a grant of up to £100,000 to revitalise the high street.
But just like with the first bid, the town was not picked by the Queen of Shops TV guru to become one of her Pilots.
The group had applied for a grant of £80,860 to fund projects such as new outdoor markets at weekends, publish new walks focusing on the high street, old town and local food producers, new floral displays around the clock tower, new signage at key entries into the town and Tube poster advertising at 10 stations.
Despite losing out on becoming a Pilot for the second time, the group has said it is determined to go ahead with the projects regardless.
Co-founder of Better Chesham Mick Carling said: “We’re going to push ahead with them anyway. Obviously we’re going to have to find funding from somewhere else, but we’re determined to deliver these projects with or without Government money.
“We always knew it would be a lottery. I think being in Bucks really went against us because the Government seem to think Bucks is rolling in money, but we have real areas of deprivation here. It was upsetting.
“The whole experience of putting our bid together has resulted in pulling our various community groups together and forging closer relationships with town and district councils, so hopefully, Chesham will be better for the experience.”
Mr Carling said the group may have secured some funding to launch a new market in the near future.
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