Northampton

Five Northamptonshire towns make Portas fund bid

Five Northamptonshire towns are to bid for a share of £1m to regenerate British high streets using suggestions from TV's Mary Portas.

Kettering, Corby, Wellingborough, Northampton and Rushden have so far bid to be part of a government scheme proposed by the retail guru.

Up to 12 towns or cities could each receive up to £100,000 and advice from Ms Portas and other retail experts.

It is hoped the money will help revive the town centres.

Councillor Graham Lawman, chairman of Wellingborough council's development committee, said: "We are really keen to be part of the Portas Pilots scheme.

"We want to make the town centre a real destination, not just somewhere people come to shop but a social place too, somewhere bustling with people and jobs and everything people need and want."

The scheme follows a review of the nation's high streets, led by Ms Portas, and her findings were published at the end of last year.

She concluded that many town centres were suffering because of serious challenges from out-of-town shopping centres and online shopping, and she made 28 recommendations about what could be done to revitalise them.

Ms Portas will sit on a panel to choose the towns to pilot her ideas later this year.

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