Video: Portas money bid for town festival

A TOWN-WIDE festival will be put on in Clevedon if a bid for money set aside to reinvigorate ailing town centres can be secured.

Clevedon is applying for a share of a �1million pot put up by the Government as part of a competition thought up by retail guru, Mary Portas, to motivate towns into improving their high streets.

If successful, it is hoped the money will also be used to improve elements of Clevedon, including its transport links and signage, to encourage more people to visit and take advantage of its amenities and businesses.

Mary Portas, along with Local Government Minister, Grant Shapps, have launched the competition to choose 12 towns to become Portas Pilots and take a share of the �1million to help turn around their high streets.

This follows the publication of the Mary Portas High Street Review, which was commissioned by the Prime Minister as an independent look at the future of the high street.

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Those making bids are encouraged to create Town Teams, made up of key players in the local community.

Clevedon Town Council has enlisted the support of numerous groups and associations including North Somerset Council, the chamber of trade and traders’ associations, landlords, voluntary groups, Clevedon Pier, the Curzon cinema, numerous business owners as well as Bristol Airport. They are bidding for �100,000.

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Town clerk Paula Heath said: “Everyone we have approached has given us great feedback and think it is a good idea.

“Even if we don’t get the money, what it has started so far has proved to be worthwhile.”

Clevedon’s ‘Town Team’ hope to secure the funding for a huge Victorian festival to be put on across the town, possibly in May 2013, featuring markets, performers, music, demonstrations and much more. The aim will be to encourage people to visit many different parts of Clevedon, linking together the different shopping areas and visitor attractions.

In the lead-up to the festival, the team plans to take on smaller projects to improve the vitality of the town.

These could include creating a park and ride service for busy shopping days, improving transport links, signage and car parks or promoting and making better use of Clevedon’s industrial estates. A website will also be created to list and promote all the businesses and attractions Clevedon has to offer.

Ms Heath added: “These will be lots of little projects that will then improve the way people see Clevedon from the outside world.

“We have got one of the busiest motorways going past our back door that sees thousands of people every day who don’t know Clevedon exists.

“If we can put Clevedon on the map for them and the tourists visiting the West Country, and even for locals, we can improve the flow of trade in the town.”

As part of the bid a video clip, explaining the main features of Clevedon and why the town should be given the money, is being compiled by town council chairman Chris Blades and local camera man Geoff Hale.

You can watch the video clip above.

It is expected that some 300-500 towns will apply for funding from the �1million pot. The bids will be judged by Mary Portas and government representatives but it is not yet known when the winners will be announced.

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