Breaking News: Morecambe to become Portas Pilot town

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MORECAMBE will become a Portas Pilot town and get a £100,000 cash windfall towards improving the town centre – our MP has announced.

David Morris said Morecambe will be one of 15 UK towns and cities to receive government money to rejuvenate the town.

John Watkins, manager of the Arndale Centre, said: “It’s a great day for Morecambe.

“I’m absolutely delighted, it’s phenomenal news.”

Mr Watkins, local businesses, marketing company SATO and members of Morecambe Town Council, including town clerk David Croxall and deputy leader Darren Clifford, were behind the ‘MoreCanBedone’ bid for the regeneration pot.

The team’s first attempt in May was unsuccessful, as 12 other towns including Bedford, Nelson and Croydon received regeneration money instead.

A revised bid was made in June, and Mr Morris said he had “mithered” Grant Schapps, Minister for Communities and Local Government, to put Morecambe in the second tranche.

Mr Watkins said: “We’ve worked very long and hard to try and achieve this and it’s a small but important step for Morecambe.”

He said the bid was targeted at improving the area close to the Arndale.

Portas Pilot Towns are named after retail guru Mary Portas, star of TV show Mary Queen of Shops. In 2011 she was appointed by the Prime Minister to lead an independent review into the future of the high street.

Mr Morris said the successful bid will give Morecambe national publicity when it is formally announced tomorrow (Wednesday).