Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Border Town's Regeneration in New Hands

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Border Town's Regeneration in New Hands

Article excerpt

Byline: Brian Daniel Reporter

ANEW group has been put in place to manage a regeneration funding scheme which was at the centre of a bitter row. The management group has been set up for the Portas Pilot at Berwick in Northumberland, after the body which won the funding was removed from the leadership role due to concerns over speed of delivery.

To date PS70,000 has been allocated through the fund, compared to the figure of less than PS10,000 at the end of September last year.

Berwick was awarded PS100,000 under the government scheme, which seeks to regenerate town centres, in July 2012.

Northumberland County Council as supervisory body for the grant agreed to match the PS100,000, creating a PS200,000 fund.

Berwick Town Team took on responsibility for managing the pilot having penned the winning bid, but was rocked by a number of personnel changes, including the resignation of chairman Ed Swales.

By the end of September last year, less than PS10,000 of the fund had been spent.

As a result, the county council took responsibility for the project from the town team, transferring it to its development company Arch and then Berwick Town Council, in a bid to speed up delivery progress.

It has now been announced that a new management group has been set up which will sit within the town council.

The group is made up of three town councillors, three members of the business community, three representatives of the wider Berwick community and representatives of the county council.

It will receive, consider and approve bids for funding and be chaired by town councillor John Robertson. A senior officer from the county council will support the work of the group.

Barry Rowland, executive director of place at the authority, said: "Portas is a valuable project which has the potential to have a very positive impact on Berwick. …

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