Cash for town to improve its high street

The High Street at Bishops Waltham
The High Street at Bishops Waltham

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BISHOP’S Waltham is to be given £10,000 of government cash to help revitalise its High Street.

A town team – made up of members of the parish council, chamber of trade, civic society, In Bloom and Winchester City Council – has been set up to look at making sure its town centre will survive by developing new markets, uses and businesses.

Minister for housing Mark Prisk announced that Bishop’s Waltham is one of more than 300 towns to get the cash plus a package of support from the Association of Town Centre Managers.

Last year the town made a failed bid to be one of 12 Portas pilots which would have won them £100,000, following a review of the country’s high streets by Mary Portas, better known as TV’s Mary Queen of Shops.

Tony Kippenberger, chairman of the Bishop’s Waltham Society and the new town team, said: ‘Although it was disappointing not to win our initial bids for Portas funding, this grant is great news for Bishop’s Waltham and means that the town team can now get down to work on a programme of activities to bring people to the town in increasing numbers.

‘We want to promote our hidden asset, the Bishop’s Palace, as well as our great mix of local shops on the high street.’

Cllr Robert Humby, deputy leader of the city council said: ‘Following community consultation earlier in the year, it was felt that the grant could best be used in employing a town centre manager to help co-ordinate events and marketing activities.

‘Whilst the grant is not enough on its own, it could help to secure contributions from other organisations.’

He added that he hoped his council could match the funding.

The team wants to hear from other councils which would consider jointly funding a shared town centre manager. Anyone interested can email Alison Woods at the city council on awoods@winchester.gov.uk