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Peckham town centre – Portas pilot bid

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The Council has submitted a bid for Peckham town centre as a Portas pilot. See here the video that has accompanied it – http://youtu.be/-7QwHvpGZvU  The bid and video were put together by Peter Williams from The Means consultancy working with the Council (http://www.themeans.co.uk).

The Government has just announced an extension of the Portas pilot scheme to a second batch of pilots after the first to be announced, because of the huge interest across the country. See below for a summary of the Government’s response just published to the whole Portas review.

We will know sometime in the next two or three months if Peckham can become a pilot in either of the two batches. But even if not, the exercise to put together the bid has demonstrated how close we all are to a positive change in the way the town centre is managed and operates if all of us with a stake can be helped to come together. This needs human resources to support all our efforts, as by definition everyone already working in some way in or in relation to the town centre is fully stretched. We know through Cllr Fiona Colley, in charge of these and many other regeneration matters, that the Council is keen for us all to capitalise on whatever is going to help us pull together as a cross sector team. We now await news on the next steps from Peter Williams on how to follow up the activity of the last few weeks.

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30 March 2012     Portas Review
Reaction from ATCM (Association of Town Centre Managers)

Dear Colleagues,

We can announce this morning that the Government has published its long awaited response to the Portas Review (England only). This response tells us two things:

1)     The Government’s official position on each of the recommendations in the Portas Review;

2)     The immediate action the Government will be taking.

This action is being taken in consultation with the new National Town Team, which was formed recently by around 10 national bodies, and is chaired by Martin Blackwell.

See word doc attached for copy of Government summary response.

Summary of Government Action

The Government has committed itself to four actions as a direct consequence of the Review:

• The Expansion of the Town Team Pilots – in response to overwhelming interest and demand, the Government will fund a further 12 pilots, as well as workshops and toolkits so other towns can learn from their experiences;

• A £500,000 investment – to help Business Improvement Districts access loans for their set-up costs;

• A High Street Innovation Fund – £10million to councils in areas blighted by empty shops and recovering from the riots to help bring entrepreneurs back to their communities.  This will give £100,000 to the top 100 locations in England with the highest No Domestic vacancy rates, and

• A £1m Future High Street X-Fund – this will reward the areas delivering the most effective and innovative plans to bring their town centres back to life

Furthermore, the Government has announced other actions it is taking which compliment the recommendations of the Portas Review . This includes:

•        Support for the Love your Local Market campaign;

•        Doubling the level of small business rate relief in England for two and a half years;

•        Consulting on proposals to abolish the centrally-set
minimum parking penalty charge, giving councils the flexibility
to levy parking penalty notices at a lower rate if they choose;

•        Putting in place a streamlined process to revoke out-of -date,  unnecessary byelaws that hinder efforts to get new markets and businesses up and running;

•        Allowing the conversion of space above shops to two flats, without the need for planning permission, rather than the current limit of one – encouraging more people to live in their town centres and maintain them as vibrant places to be; and

•        Providing up to £306,000 match funding for an Enterprise Business Connectors mentoring scheme, run by Business in the Community, to support those looking to run their own business

Some of this is promising. ATCM made a representation to the HM Treasury prior to the publication of the Budget in order to secure funding for the expansion of the Town Team pilots. This has been successful. However, we feel that the Government could do more. We are committed to ensuring that the opportunity provided by the Portas Review is not lost. Therefore, we will be working with Government, our members and other stakeholders to ensure we can make the most of the Portas Review.

Before we define our position on today’s announcements, we would like to hear your thoughts. To view the Government’s response in full, please visit the DCLG website (www.communities.gov.uk) and send your comments to [Ojay.McDonald@atcm.org]

Martin Blackwell – Chief Executive
ATCM, 1 Queen Anne’s Gate
Westminster, London SW1H 9BT
T: 020 7222 0120
ATCM <office@atcm.org>

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