Hope for £10,000 Mary Portas cash to help Dewsbury town centre

HOPE: Dewsbury town centre could get �10,000 from Mary Portas' high street review.
HOPE: Dewsbury town centre could get �10,000 from Mary Portas' high street review.

DEWSBURY is keeping its fingers crossed for a windfall to help boost the town centre.

Campaigners hope to receive £10,000 as part of the nationwide High Street review by shopping guru Mary Portas.

And MP Simon Reevell thinks the grant should be matched by Kirklees Council.

“It would be good to receive a similar sum from Huddersfield,” he said.

Helped by Mr Reevell, the Town Team has submitted an application for the cash, which would be backed up by a massive package of support.

And if the bid is successful, the money could be targeted at moves to attract more people into Dewsbury during the evening.

The Town Team met Sunday’s deadline for applications with no problems. “Simon Reevell and his staff worked with us to fill in the forms,” said Team chairman Christine Starmer. “We are all hopeful of a satisfactory conclusion.

“If we get the cash, we aim to spend it on items picked out from our original pilot, namely activities daytime and evening in the town centre to bring more people in. People who would not normally go to a town centre in the evening. But this would not be exclusively entertainment.

“One good example, though, is the successful Fiery Food Festival we staged a couple of years ago.”

Mr Reevell echoed the Town Team’s hopes.

“We need the money – if we get it – to fund a programme of action rather than specific events,” he said. “The overall aim would be to encourage new people to come into Dewsbury at different times of the day. To create more of an evening economy.

“We have submitted a strong bid and are optimistic.”

Dewsbury was one of 392 unsuccessful applicants for Portas Pilot funding announced by the government earlier this year. In this, 100 local authorities got £100,000 each to boost their high streets but more cash was set aside to help other locations in a £5.5m package of support.

All MPs in areas which submitted proposals had to endorse applications for the £10,000 grants and sign up to the Government’s package of support for high streets and town centres.

Ms Starmer said: “We don’t know when we will be told if we are to receive the money. But we put forward a good case for Dewsbury.”