370 towns from across the UK submitted plans for their high streets in a bidding process. The scheme came about as a result of Portas's work for the Department for Communities and Local Government on ways to revive the British high street which culminated in the publication of The Portas Review where she called for a greater role for restaurants, pubs and bars.
The twelve winning towns all came up with various ways they would spend the cash allocated to them including transforming Croydon's riot-affected Old Town Market area into a food quarter and using live theatre entertainment to boost the evening economy in Stockton on Tees.
"It is now clearer to me than ever that Britain wants its town centres revitalised," Portas said after revealing 12 more pilots would be announced by the end of July as well as three more which will be funded by the Greater London Authority.
The first 12 Portas Pilots are:
- Bedford, Bedfordshire
- Croydon, Greater London
- Dartford, Kent
- Bedminster, Bristol
- Liskeard, Cornwall
- Margate, Kent
- Market Rasen, Lincolnshire
- Nelson, Lancashire
- Newbiggin by the Sea, Northumberland
- Stockport, Greater Manchester
- Stockton on Tees, Teeside
- Wolverhampton, West Midlands