NHS and Tower Hamlets council win government funding to revive high streets

Three markets in Tower Hamlets are to become Portas Pilots, named after TV retail guru Mary Portas, after winning �100,000 worth of government funding.

But while the joint bid between the NHS and Tower Hamlets Council was successful it has left two residents, who put forward their own bid to revive Bow’s Roman Road disappointed.

Chrisp Street, Watney Market, Roman Road will share the funding to provide healthy lifestyle projects through its Idea Stores, it was announced yesterday by Local Government Minister Grant Shapps.

A council spokeswoman said: “The money will fund a number of projects encouraging healthy eating, skills development and new business.

“Enabling community-appointed champions to take the project forward and develop partnerships in their communities, the funding will also see shops and takeaways provided with advice around offering healthy food.

Portas Pilots are designed to help rejuvenate high streets by implementing ideas put forward by Ms Portas.

Bow residents Paula Hirst and Lorna Hughes, who have both worked in public regeneration,

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say their scheme would have focused more on restoring Roman Road.

Ms Hirst said: “We’re exceptionally disappointed that our bid was not announced. We of course welcome and support any scheme that will help Roman Road.

“But our scheme would have done more to revive the shopping street, which is what the pilots are all about.

“We hope we can work with the NHS and council to help provide high quality healthy food for their scheme.”

Ms Hirst said they had hoped to get funding to employ a project officer to lead volunteers working to improve Roman Road through the Town Team they set up.

Ms Hirst: “We’re still in discussion with the government and GLA and hope they will be able to provide us with some funding.

“We are planning to hold our next public meeting in September and are interested in hearing from anyone keen to work with us.”

A government spokeswoman said only 15 out of 400,000 were selected as Portas Pilots, as part of the government’s �1.5 million scheme.

Email theromantownteam@gmail.com to express interest in helping the team set up by Ms Hirst.

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