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Lichfield traders and organisations team up for Portas Pilot bid

Traders and organisations across Lichfield have come together bid for a share of £2million funding.

A group has submitted an application to become one of 24 Portas Pilot towns nationwide.

Richard Lewis and Lisa Prokopiou with members of the Lichfield group

Richard Lewis and Lisa Prokopiou with members of the Lichfield group

The bid was submitted in response to an announcement by the government that £2milion is up for grabs for towns and cities that can show they can revitalise their high streets.

The funding announcement came on the back of a report written by Mary Portas – aka the Queen of Shops – that set out how communities can turn their high streets around, bring in new businesses, and attract new customers.

Brian Carruthers, managing director of Tempest Ford, explained: “Over thirty traders and organisations, including Obsessions Salon and Spa, Friary Shoes, Lichfield Live, the Lichfield Mysteries, Lichfield District and City Councils and local chambers came together to come up with ideas to revitalise Lichfield city centre and boost vital footfall.

“The application which includes ideas like appointing a city centre champion, as well as a competition for local entrepreneurs to win 12 months free rent in a city centre shop, also featured a plan to turn Lichfield into the Covent Garden of the Midlands.”

Lisa Prokopiou, centre manager of the Three Spires Shopping Centre added: “Part of the application process was to record a short film featuring traders explaining why we want to become a Portas Pilot city.

“On behalf of everyone involved in the bid I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took part so enthusiastically.”

The application was submitted by Lichfield District Council, on behalf of the group, at the end of March. It will be assessed by the Department of Communities & Local Government. They will find out in May whether or not the bid has been successful.

Councillor Mike Wilcox, leader of Lichfield District Council, said: “The ideas the team came up with were fantastic, and the enthusiasm shown by businesses and organisations across the city was inspiring.

“Whether or not we become a Portas Pilot, the work the team has done to pull the application together will stand us in good stead for future partnership working and city centre improvements.”

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  1. Sponge Cake Bob

    12th April, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Think in order to become a Portas Pilot town they need to drop the rents and start getting tenants back in the shops first especially up Bakers Lane ! As for becoming the Covent Garden of the Midlands i do enjoy a good chuckle once in a while.

  2. Paul Groves

    12th April, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    What does “Covent Garden of the Midlands” actually mean?

  3. Doopster

    12th April, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    It means a vibrant city with more street entertainers, better and more market stalls, a “feel good” place to be, I would imagine.

  4. Doopster

    12th April, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    @SpongeCakeBob – who’s “they”? Because it certainly has nothing to do with any of the traders, council or business associations that a (usually London based) landlord sets rents high low or in between. There is a recession on, you know. Oh, and re the empty shops – that’s EXACTLY what this application sounds like it’s for to me. If things were great, there’d be no need. Get behind it.

  5. Paul Groves

    13th April, 2012 at 6:52 am

    I ask the question because I’m always sceptical of anything that bills itself as “The New…” or draws comparison with something that is already successful.

    But mainly I asked because I thought the whole idea of Portas and the funding was to help places like Lichfield reclaim their own identity and not be an identikit city centre or clone of everywhere else – The Covent Garden of the Midlands is a good hook and piece of spin, but it might not do us too many favours when measuring the bid against the criteria.

    Lichfield has enough character and potential to assert its own identity, with a push in the right direction from Portas. It doesn’t need the spin.

  6. Doopster

    15th April, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    The report says that’s just “part of the plan”, Paul.