Seaham to submit new Portas bid

Steph Guidi from Crazy Clearances in Church Street, Seaham...
Steph Guidi from Crazy Clearances in Church Street, Seaham...
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SOS, Mary. Seaham’s traders need you.

Businesses are to resubmit their application as they launch their second bid to become a Portas Pilot area.

Seaham Business Forum failed to make it as one of the first 12 towns chosen for a revamp under the highly publicised Government scheme.

The shop expert was drafted in to help stop the decline of high streets across the UK.

Seaham’s bid had been one of more than 370 from across the country to enter the debut round but the former pit town lost out to winners which included Newbiggin in Northumberland, Stockton-on-Tees, Wolverhampton and Stockport.

Disappointed but undeterred, the team is preparing to send its proposals in for the second round of the scheme.

Entries must be in by the end of the month and the forum say their application remains unchanged from the last time.

The bid includes proposals to host a series of events, running a town team to help manage Church Street, joining in a national market day, removing unnecessary regulations to allow anyone to trade and run a campaign to draw in more people to support neighbourhood plans.

The Seaham Shuffle You Tube video, a dance routine and plea for help, has also notched up almost 10,000 hits so far.

However, the move is not being made without some concerns.

The Seaham team have been carefully following the fall-out in Margate, Kent, a winner in the initial round of the scheme.

Margate’s business leaders voiced concerns about a television documentary being made about the scheme, fearing they will only get the money if they agree to take part. However, the Department for Communities and Local Government dismissed claims that participation in the programme was mandatory.

Steph Guidi, who runs Crazy Clearance in Church Street, Seaham, with husband Ron, has led the bid.

She said: “We’re just going with our original application because we feel our aims remain the same.

“We do have some concerns, but we feel the people of Seaham will be able to take them on if the time comes.

“But we’re pushing forward with what we’re doing. A lot of people are happy we’re going for it again.”

Events to encourage people in to the town include a classic and American classic car show on Saturday, July 14.

It will follow up an Easter celebration run by the forum and a Jubilee street party, run by shop owners on Church Street.

A DVD of the Seaham Shuffle is being sold for £2 from Crazy Clearance, with the funds to help put on future forum events.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham