Towns gets �10k boost following unsuccessful Portas bids

The town may not have secured a place in the Portas scheme but a funding boost will help ‘start things off’ in Bideford.

TOWNS in North Devon will be receiving a �10k boost after applying for the second round of the Portas Pilot scheme.

Bideford and South Molton were unlucky in being selected as Portas Pilot areas but will be able to use the funding boost to help regenerate the towns.

Vanessa Saunders, Special Projects Officer for Torridge District Council, said the district council, Bideford Town Council and Bideford and District Chamber of Commerce would be working together to allocate the town’s funding.

She said: “At the moment we are waiting to see if there any conditions on how the money should be spent.

“We will be meeting this week to discuss ideas for the funding and would imagine there will be a formal meeting where we will decide next week.”

In June 2011 the Chamber of Commerce produced a ‘vision and action plan’ for the town and it is hoped the money will help contribute to putting this into action.

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The vision includes a need to increase footfall and spending in the town, creating a marketing strategy for the area and improving parking and signage.

Cllr Simon Inch, Bideford Town Mayor, said: “It is fantastic news for the town.

“This money will go a long way into starting things off in Bideford.”

South Molton will be hosting a Big South Molton Breakfast in Easter for everyone to meet up and discuss the ideas in the bid for the funding.

David Walker, chairman of South Molton Business Association which forms part of the town team, said: “We are absolutely delighted that South Molton has been selected to become a Town Team Partner.

“We are also keen to explore the possibility of receiving some match funding.

“If successful, this would mean a really significant amount of money to invest in South Molton.

“Our Portas Bid itemised a number of schemes which are all relatively low cost, but despite our best efforts we were unable to implement them with just voluntary support and a nil budget.

“These include a loyalty scheme for our retailers, improving signage to and around the town, and a mini bus service to Pathfields Industrial Park.

“The Town Team will now reconvene to begin to outline how best we can involve our community and deploy these funds to get these projects moving.”

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