Portas bid fails but focus continues

A BID for Government funding to rejuvenate areas of Clevedon and create more interest in the town has not been successful.

A team of councillors, traders and community leaders put in an application for a share of a �1.2million pot put up by the Government as part of a competition thought up by retail guru, Mary Portas.

If the bid had been successful, the Clevedon team planned to put on a town-wide festival featuring markets, performers, live music and demonstrations. It was also hoped improvements to the town’s transport links could be made and more work could be done to encourage people to visit and shop in Clevedon.

Following the announcement of the 12 Portas Pilot winners, which included Bedminster in Bristol, Clevedon’s bid will be automatically resubmitted into a second round, from which another 15 winners will be chosen. The closing date is June 30 and the unsuccessful teams have the option to make changes to their applications.

The Clevedon team is yet to decide whether to re-enter the competition.

However, the process has sparked interest among traders and community figures to revive interest in Clevedon.

Town clerk Paula Heath said: “We have to sit down and talk about what is next bearing in mind things have now moved on.

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“A traders’ association has been formed and is very proactive. North Somerset Council is also working with us more.

“In ways it is disappointing to not win but there are other areas that are a lot worse off than Clevedon.

“The Portas bid did bring a lot of people together with a focus.

“It’s that focus we need to carry forward.”

Some 371 towns applied to become Portas Pilots and their applications were judged by Mary Portas and local government minister Grant Shapps.