Stockport Town Team vote for change to ensure effective spending of Portas Pilot cash following MM report

By Matt Davies

Stockport’s Town Team has voted to change how it is run in a bid to make the most of their Portas Pilot funding.

The move comes following MM’s report in February detailing the indecision of the group to spend its cash, at which point less than 9% of available funding had been spent.

Now, those involved have voted this week to change the structure and set up a new decision-making committee to manage the delivery of the town’s Portas Pilot projects.

Councillor Iain Roberts, executive member for economic development and regeneration at Stockport Council, hopes the changes will help with the town’s regeneration.

“The new Committee will have a much more focussed remit,” he explained.

“To deliver the projects set out in the original Portas Pilot and further establish the area around the market and Underbanks as a vibrant creative and cultural quarter.

“I’m sure the new Committee, the wider Town Team and the re-formed Retail and Business Forum will carry on the good work and continue improving Stockport for the benefit of visitors, residents and businesses.”

Joe Barrett, the student behind the original campaign to bring the Portas Pilot to Stockport, highlighted the importance of the latest decision on Twitter.

“It’s been a long hard year for Stockport’s Portas Pilot, but with this latest major overhaul I’m sure we can now push on for real change,” he tweeted.

Under the new plan, the Town Team will reform as a consultative group with open membership, meeting three or four times a year.

Stockport’s Town Centre Business and Retail Forum will also be re-established enabling businesses and employers to have a say in management and regeneration strategy.

The council is now expected to initiate the process by setting up the new committee’s first meeting which will include representation from a number of organisations.

Stockport Plaza and The Vintage Village are just some of those to be invited to nominate one representative to join the committee as a voting member.

Manchester Metropolitan University, The Teenage Market and the Stockport Historic Quarter Forum will also have the chance to voice their thoughts.

It is hoped that the new approach will enable the better use of available funding for regeneration in Stockport, a target identified back in February.

Councillor Roberts was also keen to praise the former members of the team, insisting they have helped ‘create a buzz’ around the town.

“They’ve shown real enthusiasm and commitment to making Stockport a better place, and they’ve achieved a lot,” he said.

Picture courtesy of BisGovUK, with thanks.

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