Queen of shops Mary Portas to pilot Loughborough's rejuvenation
Retail guru Mary Portas visited Loughborough yesterday as part of a project to reinvigorate the town's high street.
Loughborough was one of 27 towns nationally which last year received £100,000 under the Portas Pilot Scheme to boost its shops.
Yesterday, representatives from all of the chosen towns visited Loughborough to take part in the first national Portas Pilot Scheme event outside of London.
Mary toured the town and spoke to businesses and market traders.
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Business people took part in talks at the Town Hall about empty shops, absentee landlords and ideas for bringing buildings into use.
Councillor Paul Harley, Charnwood Borough Council's cabinet member for leisure and culture, said: "We're thrilled and excited Loughborough was chosen to host this major event.
"I think it shows the work that has gone into promoting the town is paying off."
The Portas Pilot scheme was launched following a Government review of the British high street. It invited towns to submit proposals on how they aimed to rejuvenate their high streets.
The £100,000 was matched by BID Loughborough, a group of business people in the town who submitted Loughborough's proposal, the borough council, Loughborough University, the Local Sustainable Transport Fund and Leicestershire County Council, bringing the total amount being spent on improving the town centre to £430,000.
The HMV store in Loughborough is to close with the loss of eight jobs.
The announcement comes three weeks after the entertainment chain went into administration.
Administrators Deloitte said the store, in The Rushes shopping centre, would close within two months. It is one of 66 HMV shops which administrators have decided to shut.
HMV's store in High Street, Leicester, is not among those earmarked for closure.
Joint administrator Nick Edwards said the decision to close 66 "loss-making" stores had been taken "in order to enhance the prospects of securing the business' future as a going concern".