Today the Conservative government announced that Shepton Mallet would not benefit from the £1.2million they set a side for the Mary Portas project.
The Conservative government obviously in the spirit of Simon Cowell, is working with Mary Portas to help regenerate twelve High Street, with the added twist that Mary Portas will make a television series out of the process.
Minister of State for Communities and Local Government Grant Shapps, meanwhile, said the competition had "captured the imagination of the nation with communities across the country uniting to support their High Streets".Mr Shapps clearly using the Simon Cowell marketing technique there.
Shepton's High Street needs to be modernised, in the previous year, I have held meetings with Somerset County Council officers, Mendip District Council Officers.
Mendip District Council has £30,000 left of the Tesco legal agreement money left, this has to be spent by August 2012. I held a meeting with Somerset County Council where we discussed them using their contractors to draw up a scheme to improve paving and the Street Scene within the High Street and Town Street, this was to be designed so work could be completed as money became available. For reasons I do not understand this work has not been conducted.
I've met with Mendip District Council staff to discuss how the Tesco monies can be released, with all the reorganisation at Mendip, it appears no member of staff is responsible for regeneration funds, or they are too busy doing something else, the facts remains that there is very little to be seen for the money funded to Mendip for the Tesco store at Townsend.
The facts remain, one of the key elements to a successful Town Centre is an attractive environment. This will mean better paving and street scene, improved street furniture, improved traffic flow of people with improved signs from car parks.
The second key element is improving the promotion of the Town Centre, there is a need to arrange a full calender of events and draws the townspeople into the Town Centre, the Town Centre should be seen as the Towns hub.
The third part of the Town centre is business support, this is very much for businesses to decide but all businesses need to change, they have to adopt to the Internet commerce and the challenging economic conditions.
With or without Mary Portas, all stakeholders need to be involved in working to develop our Town Centre, sadly the principled councils are losing their expertise in regeneration, this in response to government financial cuts, this is the real world, £1.2million with a glamorous women presenting a TV show.
In truth all levels of government should be working to rejuvenate our Town Centre.
Like most things this Conservative government does, when you look in the cupboard it is always bare. Warm words and cruel neglect.