Buxton’s open for business, says MP

BUXTON is to benefit from a £10,000 grant to help revive the town centre and high street.

Earlier this year, Buxton missed out on the chance to be named as a Portas Pilot – towns which will test out the recommendations made by retail guru Mary Portas in a Government commissioned report aimed at reviving the country’s high streets and town centres.

But plans to create a Buxton Town Team to drive improvement in the town have forged ahead anyway.

And the group have now been selected to become a Town Team Partner, giving them access to a wealth of information, mentoring and support, as well as the grant of £10,000.

Buxton was one of over 400 towns to apply for the funding and civic leaders were left disappointed after the town was not chosen as one of the 24 Portas Pilot towns.

However, Local Government Minister Grant Shapps was persuaded that many of the towns who had been unsuccessful needed help and the Town Team Partner Scheme was established.

Announcing the launch of the scheme on Tuesday, Local Growth Minister, Mark Prisk, said: “There’s a real hunger in town centres across the country for them to be revitalised and remain attractive places to visit.

“So I’m delighted that from today over 300 Town Team Partners will begin to receive a package of support that helps them breathe new life into their high streets.

“No one’s pretending that there’s a silver bullet for improving the performance of our town centres. Yet with this new support, and the opportunity to learn from each other, Town Teams can channel their energy and enthusiasm into promoting a more exciting and competitive offer on our high-streets, and help them thrive for years to come.”

The original Portas bid included a range of proposals to improve the prosperity of the town, focusing on the concept of a single ‘Main Street’ stretching from the Spring Gardens viaduct through to the Five Ways junction.

The Town Team, which is made up of a number of organisations across Buxton, will now use the £10,000 funding towards four elements selected from the original Portas proposal that they believe will benefit the largest number of people in the town, and have the potential to attract additional support from elsewhere.

They are:

l Producing an illustrated town map featuring the retail, cultural and architectural elements of Main Street.

l Supporting the establishment of at least one ‘pop-up shop’ to make use of empty retail premises, which will act as a pilot for a town-wide scheme.

l Contributing to the establishment of a new ‘Shop Local’ scheme in support of local independent businesses and

l Holding the first Town Fair along Main Street where new and existing local businesses, community groups and artists can demonstrate their offers in a festive environment.

Welcoming the news, High Peak MP Andrew Bingham said: “I am very pleased to have been able to support the new Buxton Town Team in accessing the resources that Town Team Partner status has to offer, and I pay tribute to the group for seizing the initiative, and coming together to make the most of this opportunity.

“It’s a pleasure to see such a pro-active group, bringing an impressive range of skills to the task of improving Buxton as a place to live and work in, or to visit. I am proud to have played a part in helping them get this far, and will continue to encourage the initiatives that the Town Team Partner programme will help to bring about.”

And Caitlin Bisknell, leader of High Peak Borough Council, added: “I am delighted that Buxton Town Team has been successful in its bid for this funding. I know that members are bursting with ideas about how to spend the money and are keen to get moving.

“There are important links to be made between the work of the Town Team and the borough council’s recently launched retail strategy. I look forward to working with them to revive Buxton’s fortunes.”