Gareth Johnson, MP for Dartford and Mark Prisk, Minister of State for Communities and Local Government have applauded the work of Dartford Borough Council and local businesses in working together to revitalise Dartford. Gareth Johnson raised the issue in the House of Commons with the Minister.
Gareth told the House that the positive effects of this win have ‘encouraged a large number of organisations such as NCR to consider putting help and expertise into Dartford’. He also emphasised to the House that ‘such a proactive response, particularly from local councils, will help to ensure a successful future for our high streets’.
The Minister affirmed that ‘strong civic and local business leadership is vital’ to supporting and strengthening High Streets, and called on MP’s to ‘support their local town team partners so we can ensure that our high streets can compete in future’.
“It’s an exciting time for Dartford. There has been a significant increase in interest in Dartford’s High Street since its successful bid to be a Mary Portas pilot. Businesses recognise the potential that exists here and are looking to be part of our town’s future.”
Jeremy Kite, Leader of Dartford Borough Council said: “Dartford’s High Street is not alone in facing difficulties but the answer is not to constantly wallow in the problems but to slowly and firmly work on the solutions. Some poured cold water on the Portas initiative, saying it was ‘too small’ or ‘too late’ but the truth is that this relatively small initiative has opened some very big doors for our town and residents and shoppers will soon see the benefits. Town Centres are about people gathering together and if we can encourage people back in to our town, traders and local businesses will all get a lift.”
In May this year, 12 towns were awarded a Portas Grant to regenerate their local high street. A further 15 were awarded in July, with over 400 towns in total submitting applications for a Portas Grant.