The question of Formby's Portas Town Team bid was the subject of the following question to Eric Pickles, The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in Parliament on 12 March.
Bill Esterson (Sefton Central, Labour)
The Mary Portas review will help with business growth. In my constituency, Formby has a parish council and Maghull has a town council. Will the Secretary of State confirm whether parish and town councils will qualify as accountable bodies for funding bids under the Portas review, or will the bids have to go through the borough or district councils?
Eric Pickles (Secretary of State, Communities and Local Government; Brentwood and Ongar, Conservative)
I am afraid to say that, despite Formby being the apple of my eye and a wonderful place to invest, the process will be at borough level.
Though pleasing to know that Formby is the 'apple of his eye' to Eric Pickles it's disappointing that this isn't the case when it comes to Sefton MBC. Who, so far as I'm aware, have not changed their collective mind to support only one of three proposals from across the Borough. Despite the fact that at a 'Workshop organised by the Association of Town Centre Management' an official of the DCLG has
....suggested authorities might put anything from 1 to 10 bids in, subject to local interest. They also confirmed the key role local community involvement has in being a 'new' partner in the authority / business structures of running towns.
Frankly I despair of and for Sefton MBC, they just don't get it. How will local communities thrive unless their local Borough politicians facilitate and encourage them?
Finally a word of thanks to Bill Esterson MP at least he's batting on our side.