Surprise at council’s lacking of spending

Cash: Mary Portas
Cash: Mary Portas
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Chorley Council leader Alistair Bradley said he was “surprised” councils which won £100,000 of Portas Pilot cash to rejuvenate their high streets haven’t spent more of the money.

Of a total £1.2m given to 12 towns, only £100,00 has been touched so far.

Nelson, the only Lancashire town to be included in the Government-backed scheme, has only spent £11,477.

Coun Bradley, the leader of the Labour Group, said: “If we had got it, we would have spent most of it by now because we had worked hard with our Town Team and worked up our projects in quite some detail.

“But even though we did not win, we have still invested considerably in our town centre because boosting business and strengthening the local economy is one of our key priorities.”

The £10,000 Chorley received for not becoming a Portas Town, has been put towards a shop front improvement grants budget, used on three applications.

The Portas Pilot scheme, was given £2.4m by the Government, and is being headed up by retail expert Mary Portas, who has changed the fortune of several major brands.

In total, 371 individual bids were received, and whittled down to 12 by Local Government Minister Grant Shapps.