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News - 1 December 2012
Six months on: what has Portas achieved so far?
It’s six months since the first Portas Pilot town teams were announced. What have they been up to, and what's their real potential for creating lasting change in town centres? Good, sustainable ideas take time...
According to Clare Cummings writing for Manchester-based Centre for Local Economic Strategies, last year’s Portas Review set out a vision to ‘breathe economic and community life back into our high streets’ and its first recommendation for doing this was the formation of ‘town teams’.
They were supposed to be ‘visionary, strategic and strong operational management teams for high streets’, the review said, which bring together a range of local stakeholders to find new ways of making town centres bustle again.
Town teams have certainly been busy in the six months since their launch, says Cummings, delivering a range of events and schemes, from markets to loyalty cards. But key to the success of the town team pilots is swift and effective engagement with local businesses, community groups and members of the public. The town teams need to bring often competing factions together to create a forum for decision-making and action; after six months some areas are still struggling to establish effective partnerships and gain consensus for change.
Getting people to work effectively together with one aim is a big challenge that needs to be cracked before any substantial work can be implemented. But there are some interesting projects already off the drawing board and into the High Street.
Read the rest of this item from the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES), here
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Portas Town Teams