Still in running for Portas cash

OFFICIALS and volunteers working to regenerate Dewsbury town centre are in the running for the second round of Government funding in a scheme supported by TV star Mary Portas.

Earlier this month Dewsbury failed to win some of the £1.2m initially available through the regeneration fund supported by business guru Ms Portas.

More than 350 towns bidded for the cash, with 12 areas, including Stockonon Tees, Bedford and Margate, winning.

A second round of grants will be available next month, when another 15 towns will be awarded funding, and Dewsbury will be in the running again thanks to bid organisers at the Town Team group.

At Tuesday night’s Town Team meeting group vice chairman Andrew Hutchinson said: “When we decided to apply for Portas funding, we had a clear idea of what we wanted to achieve: to increased footfall into town, to revitalise the town centre and to reopen shop units, either as shops or with alternative uses.

“Unfortunately, our scheme wasn’t one of the 15 chosen out of the 370 submissions. In fact, and quite surprisingly, no scheme from West, North or South Yorkshire was chosen. 

“We discussed withdrawing our original bid and finetuning it but what we had produced was practical, financially viable, and it had the support of landlords, the council, local people and local businesses. 

“After much deliberation we decided that we would not want to change a good formula. We decided to let it ride. 

“We will know at the end of July whether our second shot has been successful.

“It will be back in there with the other unsuccessful bids that haven’t been withdrawn, and others that have been revamped or completely redrawn.

“There will also be new bids from town teams who didn’t apply for the first round.”

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