Portas Pilot boost for town centre

TOWN centre businesses in Rotherham can expect a further boost in the coming months thanks to the borough's success in the latest round of the Portas Pilot project.

Rotherham Borough Council heard this week that it has secured £100,000 from the Government scheme, launched in the wake of the nationwide review of town centres by Mary “Queen of Shops” Portas.

The new funding will see the extension of the grants to shops and businesses that has helped Rotherham buck the national trend in visitor numbers over the last ten months.

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The £100,000 provided by the Portas project will be match funded by £100,000 from British Land, the owners of the Parkgate Shopping Park, who have worked closely with the authority to ensure that each of the Rotherham based shopping destinations compliment each other and that the collective shopping experience at both sites is jointly promoted.

The money will allow support to be given to around 70 existing town centre retailers who show the potential to grow and develop by expanding and diversifying their product range or by relocating and expanding their businesses.

They will also be able to get help in the better targeting of customers through improved marketing and branding and by enhancing the customer experience and ensuring the personal service offered. 

Cllr Gerald Smith, Rotherham Borough Council’s Cabinet member for regeneration, described it as brilliant news for Rotherham.

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“This funding will allow us and our partners to build on that success and hard work and allow us to continue with projects that will give our local shops and businesses the necessary vision for the future,” he said.

“Our successful bid encourages and supports businesses to improve their standards, customer-base and profitability, which in turn will ultimately encourage residents to shop local.”