Correspondence on Portas for Ashbourne


So I thought I should share the idea with the Ashbourne Partnership and with the Town Council. This is the conversation so far with the Ashbourne Partnership:

Portas Pilot
Good morning Have the Town Partnership considered applying for a Portas Pilot grant? As a resident I think the goals of the grants and what we want to achieve for the town seem really similar. In addition the prerequisite is the creation of a Town Team which the Ashbourne Partnership seem to be. There is free money available here to get the job done and the publicity and unity that it could create, even for an unsuccessful bid, seem well worth it. I have looked at the application form and it doesn\’t seem onerous or costly with a submission date of 31st March. If you want an easy link to it all it is available on my blog – https://ashbournevoice.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/a-portas-pilot-for-ashbourne/ or the BIS website. I posted this yesterday and had 83 views. I am happy to help with the writing of the submission and the ideas around it if required but there are very few organisations with the contacts of retailers and council that could make it happen. The Ashbourne Partnership seem ideally placed and this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Kind Regards Paul Miller

The reply I had back same day was:

Hi Paul

Thank you for your message and thoughts.  I will forward to the Board to seek their views.

 Questions we need to ask, irrelevant of the Portas Pilot or not is a) why are there no other traders coming on a Thursday or more on a Saturday – is it lack of demand or what?

b) what would people want to see on a market day. I think we need to answer those questions before anything is done.  

 I will let you know the thoughts of the Board. 

For clarification I emailed:

I just want to clarify that my email to you was not specific to the petition for the saving of the weekday market. I think the decline in the market is a symptom of the challenges for the High Street in Ashbourne with the rise in vacant property and challenges for pub trade as well. Lack of footfall in all locations will inevitably result in less people wanting to take up or stick with new opportunities. My understanding is that there are regularly new stallholders who come for a couple of weeks and then don’t come again (I have had two potential stallholders -one food one craft – approach me since the petition began) – in the same way there have been a number of short term tenants for the Bridge. I think the availability of grants to help turn the situation around seems too good an opportunity to miss for the town as a whole, to not even apply or to run out of time would be a real shame in my opinion. As you can see from the Prospectus for the Portas Pilots any submission just based on a market would fail anyway – it is about integrated solutions between store retailers, the market, tourism, council etc. The heart of this is the Town Team and Ashbourne Partnership seems to be the nearest we have to a Town Team.


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About justaukcook

/kʊk/ Not a chef, not an epicure, not a foodie. Just one who likes to prepare food – What really happens in the kitchen and on the high street is what I write about. Follow me on Twitter @Justaukcook and on https://www.facebook.com/justaukcook
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