Scheme bidders vow to keep on working

DISAPPOINTED groups behind bids for the Portas Pilot scheme have insisted all is not lost.

Bidders from Thetford and Brandon learned this week that their bids to share cash from the town rejuvenation scheme had failed.

Twelve towns were picked from 371 applicants for the Government-funded process to share £1.2 million. Bidders had to show how they would use the money to improve their town centre’s fortunes.

But Terry Jermy, a member of the SoRT-iT group which has made a bid on behalf of Thetford’s high street, said the application process had created a positive atmosphere.

“Naturally we are all disappointed to lose out but everything in our bid is deliverable without the money and we will keep at it.

“People don’t seem to have lost any interest in what we are doing since we heard we’d missed out.

“Things will just take a bit longer now,” he said.

Joanne Rogers, town centre manager for Forest Heath District Council, coordinated the bid for Brandon and said it had been a benefit.

“We’ve already met with Brandon businesses and decided what projects from the bid we can and can’t keep,” she said.

“There has been some really positive feedback from businesses and business groups for what we have been doing.”

Ms Rogers added that efforts to improve traffic congestion issues and transport to the town centre would continue to be looked at.

Both towns will now automatically go into a second round of bidding.

With no towns being selected in Norfolk or Suffolk, it is hoped the judges could look favourably on Thetford and Brandon’s bids.

The winning towns were Bedford, Croydon, Dartford, Margate, Bedminster, Market Rasen, Stockport, Stockton-on-Tees, Wolverhampton and Nelson in East Lancashire.