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Disappointment at Portas Pilot snub

High Street, Sheerness
High Street, Sheerness

A trader has spoken of his disappointment after Sheerness missed out for a second time in a £1.5 million regeneration project.

Pete Giffen, chairman of the team behind the bid, said: “I am disappointed because of the work the whole of the group has put in.

“We have just got to go down other avenues to find a solution.”

Among the 15 recipients of the second wave of funding were Brighton, Liverpool and the Waterloo area of London.

Ashford was the only Kent town to benefit in the final stage. There was some surprise among town centre traders that affluent Brighton had been chosen.

The owner of O. So. U in High Street, Sheerness, described the choice of towns picked in the second stage as “unfortunate”.

He said: “I feel that we met their criteria better than some of the other towns.”

More than 370 towns competed against Sheerness to become Portas Pilots, which would see them granted money to revitalise their centres.

Jill Read, member of the town team and regeneration officer for Swale Borough Council, said: “I am disappointed that the round two bid for Sheerness was unsuccessful.

"The town team worked very hard to put the bid together.

“They have some really innovative ideas and I’m hopeful that they will be able to find a way to deliver some of the projects identified in the bid.”

A group of traders, councillors and community heads formed the Sheerness Town Team in March to submit a plan to show what it would do with the money.

It missed out on up to £100,000 of funding when the first group of pilots were chosen in May.

It is hoped the team can reconvene in September to see if it can act on any of the ideas it expressed in its bid.

Some funding may still be available to Sheerness as towns that were not selected can bid for a share of a £5.5 million pot for their projects.

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