Mary Portas Pilot Town selection [Video]

Croydon one of 12 winning bids to be a Portas Pilot Town sharing in £1.2 million funding

Croydon is one of 12 town centres selected in a joint government Mary Portas initiative to “kick-start high street renaissance.”

Its successful bid involves “transforming the riot-stricken area’s historic Old Town market into a thriving market, food and cultural quarter.”

This means that Croydon can call itself a “Portas Pilot Town.”

Selection was by Local Government Minister Grant Shapps

In a coordinated publicity announcement between the government and Mary Portas,  Local Government Minister Grant Shapps praised the “exceptional quality” of the winning bid, which will receive a slice of £1.2 million and a tailored package of support from both the Minister and retail guru Mary Portas.

Croydon is one of twelve “first round winners” having beaten off competition from a total of 371 applications across the country.

This was Croydon’s video pitch


The initiative stems from the first recommendation of Mary Portas’s High Street Review. Mary was appointed the coalition government’s high street tsar.

The high street Town Team pilots in England aim to encourage “local partnerships and consortiums to come up with innovative ideas of their own about how to transform their local high street into a social place, bustling with people, services and jobs.”

Mary Portas, government's High Street Tsar. Photo: Constant Pictures

Portas said: “The competition has been fierce, with 371 brilliant individual bids, but the first twelve Portas Pilot Towns have now been chosen by Local Government Minister Grant Shapps. These towns will need to deliver fresh, vibrant, and exciting ideas that will invigorate their locality and mobilise the whole community under the leadership of their new teams.”

High Street revival scheme led by Mary Portas and government. Graphic by Dermott Flynn

She added in an almost Nelsonian turn of phrase: “The country expects them to deliver a new blueprint and benchmark for all British towns.” Croydon’s progress will be displayed with regular updates on

‘Queen of Shops’ sent to save the high street

The Portas Review, an independent report into the future of our high streets is downloadable as a pdf file here (1.9 megabytes)

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