Special delivery for Mrs Mary Portas: Wisbech Town Team post their funding bid
WISBECH’S bid to become a Portas pilot town was posted to the “Queen of Shops” today - but the Town Team insist that’s just the beginning.
The team, made up of shopkeepers, councillors and residents, has vowed to continue fighting to rejuvenate Wisbech with or without the help of Mary Portas.
They have spent eight weeks compiling a bid for up to �100,000 of government funding to help turn around “unloved and unused” high streets.
Businesswoman Jaqui Fairfax, who led the project, said the final bid included plans to improve the market place, employ a town centre manager and buy a special unit to help support small businesses.
She said: “What the team have achieved in eight weeks is phenomenal.
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“I never realised what I was letting myself in for when I started this but I would do it again in a heartbeat.
“I have met some very inspirational people and everyone has mucked in to get this done for Wisbech.
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“I have had e-mails come through at midnight with ideas for the town. I’m quite emotional today.
“The bid is important but it’s not going to stop the town team if we don’t win it. There’s a lot of funding out there and we’re going to start applying for it.”
Launching a retail training school and finding a sponsor to provide Wi-fi internet access in the market place also formed part of Wisbech’s pitch to Portas.
Resident Hannah Campagna, who is set to take over leadership of the project from Mrs Fairfax, said: “Like everybody, I would like a nice place to live in.
“The key to the success of this is that we have had representatives from right across the town. It’s not busy-bodies talking about the same old things, it’s people across Wisbech coming together.”
The team were joined by NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay to post their bid this lunchtime (Friday).
Mr Barclay said: “This is a grass roots, community-led bid, which is excellent. It’s obviously a competitive field but if you don’t take part then you don’t win.
“This is also a signal of a town which is open for business, looking to improve and with potential still to be unlocked.”