Royston’s failure to enter Portas project ‘a missed opportunity’

ROYSTON’S failure to try and secure a slice of a �1m high street redevelopment pot has been criticised by the town’s labour party.

The Government project overseen by retail guru Mary Portas will see 12 towns across the country secure up to �100,000 and the advice of Mrs Portas herself.

Neither the town council or Royston’s business partnership, Royston First, tried to secure the cash despite organisations in Letchworth, Hitchin and Stevenage attempting to secure the funding.

Royston Labour Party spokesman Les Baker said: “This seems to be a missed opportunity in attempting to get involved in a scheme which looks like revitalising high streets.”

The first round of the Portas Pilot scheme closed on March 30 but a second round searching for another 12 runs until June 30.

The Government is attempting to encourage local partnerships and consortiums to pitch ideas of their own on how to bring people into the high street.

Royston’s town centre manager took umbrage with the Labour party’s criticism as representations could have been made by the group.

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Geraint Burnell said: “Firstly, I don’t think our case was strong enough and we are doing fairly well.

“Going against town centres that have 30 per cent of shop fronts boarded up seemed churlish as we have the BID to raise money.

“It was a great deal of time to make an application and we have little need for it.”

The Crow spoke to the chairman of Royston Town Council, Cllr Robert Smith, who said he was not aware of the scheme and as such could not comment.

The Royston & District Chamber of Commerce discussed the possibility of entering but it was decided the time frames were unrealistic.