Seaham vows to fight on after losing out on Mary Portas bid

Steph Guidi on Church Street, Seaham, on the morning it was announced that the town had not been successful in the first round of the Mary Portas led regeneration project.
Steph Guidi on Church Street, Seaham, on the morning it was announced that the town had not been successful in the first round of the Mary Portas led regeneration project.
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A TOWN today vowed to fight on after losing out in its bid for cash.

People in Seaham were devastated at missing out on a slice of the £1.2million Portas Pilot funding that is being shared between 12 British towns to help revitalise their high streets.

But businesses are now hoping to scoop the £100,000 jackpot on offer in the next round, which will see a further 15 towns picked for a revamp.

Bid organiser Steph Guidi, of Crazy Clearance Store, in the town’s Church Street, has vowed to bounce back with a bigger and better bid.

She said: “It was very disappointing, but we won’t give up.

“The next deadline is June 30 so we’ll have to get our fingers out, get our heads together and get a new application in – with a new Seaham Shuffle.”

Denise Arthur, owner of Cafe Poppies, in Church Street, added: “I’m very sad because it’s very hard now for this street.

“It would have been good to see some improvement of some sort round here.”

The town’s bid included a video of hundreds of residents and business owners doing the “Seaham Shuffle” – a mass dance event to LMFAO’s song Party Rock Anthem.

The film went on to attract thousands of hits on the YouTube website, but the backing of the public was not enough to ensure a visit from the straight-talking TV personality and Government advisor Mary Portas.

Gordon Griffiths, 50, owner of Meatmart Butcher’s, added: “Seaham could have really done with it.

“Mary Portas tells it like it is. She gives an outside opinion which is what we really need.”

And Gordon was eager that this should not be the end for Seaham’s campaign.

“I think they should definitely try again,” he said.

“They should drag every councillor from County Durham down by their finger nails to get involved.”

Paul Chapplow, 48, is joint owner of Seaham Pet and Garden Centre. He said although the news was disappointing, he was not sure how much would have changed with the cash injection.

“I’ve got to be honest, I don’t know what it would have brought. If it’s not sustainable and it’s only a one-off thing, I don’t think it would have made that much difference.”

The 12 towns chosen for the Portas Pilot are Newbiggin by the Sea in Northumberland, Stockton on Tees, Bedford, Croydon, Dartford, Bedminster, Liskeard, Margate, Market Rasen, Nelson, Stockport and Wolverhampton.