One third of Portas cash spent in Market Rasen, despite national reports damning the scheme
Traders in Market Rasen have hit out against claims that a rescue fund for high streets championed by retail guru Mary Portas has gone almost entirely unspent.
The High Street Innovation fund was set up in response to Portas' review of what could be done to boost struggling shopping areas.
In all, 100 councils were given a share of £10 million, which included £100,000 to help regenerate Market Rasen.
Reports say councils have spent just seven per cent of the money assigned to turn around town centres.
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But the Market Rasen Business Improvement Group (MR BIG), claims to have spent around a third of the six figure sum - and that the remainder has already been committed for projects to be implemented between September and December.
Since becoming a Portas Pilot town, Market Rasen has thrown ten monthly markets, won national awards, opened two community shops and created six new jobs.
The money has also helped to reduce vacancy rates in the town by 50 per cent, run the first-ever arts and crafts festival and support more than 40 producers, makers and artists.
Sarah Lamballe, one of the volunteer directors of MR BIG, said: "We've created an atmosphere of confidence in our town which is encouraging businesses to try out their ideas.
"Out footfall is on the up - and importantly, we are beginning to see increased numbers of our of town visitors.
"It means our town, mainly thanks to the regular BIG markets, train station and free parking, is becoming a regional destination.
"The biggest 'uncounted' contribution in our Portas journey is the donation of time from our many volunteers.
"The market value of the time committed on this project so far would easily outstrip the £100,000 Portas award."