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Queen of shops gives town £100,000 boost
THE centre of Basingstoke is set for a £100,000 cash boost after being selected as a Mary Portas pilot town.
TV retail guru Mary put forward a series of recommendations to the Government on how to rejuvenate the country’s run-down high streets.
In response, ministers will hand out £10m aimed at bringing empty shops back into use. Town centre businesses will now be consulted on how Basingstoke’s allocation can be best spent.
Borough council chief executive Tony Curtis said: “Continuing to improve Basingstoke town centre is essential to economic growth and reinforces the area as a great place to live, work and shop.”
The Portas High Street Review, submitted to the Government in December, outlined the challenges faced by high streets including internet shopping and out-of-town retail centres.
Ms Portas, known as Mary Queen of Shops, said: “I have been thrilled by the response of people, town teams and communities who have seized this opportunity to come together and form their own ideas.”
Housing minister Grant Shapps added: “Mary Portas’ review made crystal clear the stark challenge our high streets face. With internet shopping and out-of-town centres here to stay, they must offer something new if they are to entice visitors back.”
A report on how to spend the funding will be discussed at a borough council Cabinet meeting this summer.