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Coastal town applies to be a Portas Pilot

By East Lindsey Target  |  Posted: April 11, 2012

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A GERMAN market and a mobile loyalty scheme all form part of Skegness' bid to be chosen as a Portas Pilot project.

Following hot on the heels of Alford's application last week, Skegness has now submitted its application to the Department for Communities and Local Government grant fund that has made £1 million available following the Mary Portas review of high streets in 2011.

The Portas Review put forward a series of recommendations to help promote economic growth, create jobs and improve life in the local area.

The Skegness application has been developed by Skegness Partnership with support from the local business community, Skegness Town Council and East Lindsey District Council.

The application is for £89,000 for an innovative project idea to build a bridge between virtual online bargain hunting and the classic shopping experience on High Street and Lumley Road.

If the bid is successful, the money would form part of a £150,000 programme of work, of which £62,000 would come as financial and/or in kind contribution from business partners involved with Skegness Partnership.

Skegness Partnership chairman, Jimmy Botton, said: "Skegness, as one of Britain's most deprived towns, needs to address issues with Lumley Road.

"Low vacancies and high churn of retail are our strength to become a successful Mary Portas Pilot and with this innovative project we want to strengthen our town centre businesses and become a national pathfinder for other towns."

Projects that Skegness Partnership would like to deliver with the funding include a new improved Christmas Market with 'German design' wooden stalls which can also be used for other town centre markets and activities and a new family-friendly installation on Lumley Road to support proposed traffic management improvements designed by Lincolnshire County Council.

They are also looking at a new mobile loyalty programme managed and operated by TikTap which uses unique 'pods' which plug into electronic point of sale terminals to give and validate offers.

Skegness Town Manager, Stefan Krause, said: "A successful Mary Portas bid would boost Skegness Partnership's ambitious proposals to improve Skegness' trading environment, support young entrepreneurs in their first critical years of survival and implement innovative customer services by using the latest smartphone technology to promote our distinctive family owned businesses better."

Successful bids to become a Mary Portas pilot are due to be confirmed in the next few weeks.

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