Portas focus falls on Hull’s first “high street”
Hull BID has joined Hull City Council and partners across the city to form a Town Team, a joint application to become one of a dozen “Portas pilots.”
With more than 300 towns and cities believed to be challenging for Government funding of up to £100,000 each, competition is tough.
Hull BID Manager Kathryn Shillito said Hull’s strong track record of partnership working could be a key factor during the selection process.
“If however Hull misses out, that same partnership culture will ensure that we continue the work that we had actually already started before the Portas Review came along,” said Kathryn.
Other organisations involved in compiling Hull’s application include the Hull School of Architecture, Hull Bondholders, Hull Daily Mail and Hull Civic Society.
The focus of the application is Whitefriargate, as a gateway to the Old Town, which the submission states: “has the potential to become a distinct area of Hull with a rich historic fabric that accommodates a thriving café bar and restaurant sector alongside a cluster of independent retailers with the upper floors of buildings being developed for city centre living and public spaces animated within a high quality public realm creating a strong sense of 'place'.”
Among the recommendations of the Portas Review - published October 2011 - is the creation of “Town Teams” and the empowerment of successful Business Improvement Districts to become “Super-BIDs.”
“New Super-BIDs would develop a dynamic strategic vision for their towns. Super-BIDs should be about more than just ‘grime and crime’ and should work in much more of a strategic partnership to shape the thriving high streets of the future.”
“Our town team has selected Whitefriargate for the project because we were already working on it, securing support from traders and property landlords, and increasing footfall in this area has been a priority for some time.
People remember that Whitefriargate was Hull's prime retail street during the first 70 years of the 20th century, its first 'retail high street' which was also the first to be pedestrianised in the 1970's.
We find out in late spring or early summer whether we have been successful... if not, we will continue with our innovative ideas to improve the area.”