Press release

Fantastic' response to Portas Pilots offer

Hundreds of towns across the country have applied in their droves to become one of the first Portas Pilots to breathe new life into their high streets.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
Illustration of a high street

(Image courtesy of Dermott Flynn).

The government has received bids from 371 different towns to become 1 of 12 pilot areas, with the chance to receive a share of £1.2 million to help turn around their high streets - but more importantly the backing from the Minister and Mary Portas herself.

Mr Shapps said he was excited by the “enthusiastic and energetic” response to the Portas Review, which has proved a catalyst for communities to come together, form Town Teams and make plans for the future of their high streets.

While the results of this competition will be announced in May, the minister has also announced a further round of pilots to trial some of Mary’s recommendations.

Grant Shapps said:

I am delighted by the enthusiastic and energetic response from towns up and down the country, as they have used Mary Portas’s review as a real catalyst for change to secure the future of their high streets.

High streets have faced stiff challenges from internet shopping and out-of-town centres, yet there is still a clear desire from communities to see them survive. We have received a fantastic 371 bids to become one of the first 12 Portas pilots.

That’s why, as part of our Portas Plus response to Mary’s review, I’ve launched a second round of this competition to find a further 12 pilot areas. I now look forward to watching the YouTube videos and seeing how communities have come together for myself.

Mary Portas said:

The significant work, creative energy and coming together of communities across the country that is evident in films they have made has confirmed my belief that the British public really care about their high streets. I promise to give as much back. We will work to recreate and redefine the British high street and town centre, making them places local communities are proud of.

‘Portas Plus’ response - beyond the pilots

This programme of pilots is just one part of the government’s ‘Portas Plus’ response to Mary’s review into the future of the high streets.

Grant Shapps has also announced:

  • a £1 million Future High Street X-Fund, which will be awarded to areas with the most creative and effective schemes to rejuvenate their town centres;
  • a National Markets Day, launching a National Markets Fortnight, to celebrate the role markets can play and offer budding entrepreneurs the chance to test their business ideas
  • a £500,000 fund for Business Improvement Districts, to help town centres access loans for their set-up costs

Watch a video of grant Schapps’ announcement.

Video transcript (MS Word Document, 27 KB)

Notes to editors

  1. Read the government’s response to the review: High Streets at the heart of our communities: the government’s response to the Mary Portas review.

Media enquiries


Please use this number if you are a journalist wishing to speak to Press Office 0303 444 1209

Published 27 April 2012