BBC film Nelson’s Mary Portas town centre retail innovations

Coun Paul White, Azhar Siddique, Hanna Latty and Stephanie Cardwell take a look around Nelson centre to mark the success of the Mary Portas win.
Coun Paul White, Azhar Siddique, Hanna Latty and Stephanie Cardwell take a look around Nelson centre to mark the success of the Mary Portas win.

AFTER Nelson’s success in winning Mary Portas’s support, things are rapidly beginning to happen.

Pendle Council is working with Nelson and Colne College, getting students to come up with shop ideas for the town centre, and is also setting up a team involving retailers from the shopping centre.

Nelson was just one of 12 towns across the country to win the Portas Pilot project, which provides £100,000 to boost ideas.

This week, the BBC have been filming in Nelson. They visited the college and interviewed town centre manager Hanna Latty on Scotland Road.

The college’s Apprentice scheme has come up with ideas. The winning one is a proposal to set up an events shop, and there was also a cyber cafe idea and a Sugar Shack selling sweets.

Shopkeepers took part in the town centre team’s launch at the ACE Centre on Tuesday. Pendle Council’s tourism and community initiatives manager Vaughan Jones said: “We are getting direct support from Mary herself.”

Hanna Latty and executive member Coun. Paul White went down to London to meet her.

Coun. White said: “I am confident this will bring in the changes Nelson needs.”

Vaughan introduced the team from Nelson and Colne College and said “the sixth best college in the country” was supporting plans for the town centre.

Hanna said: “We have to look for something new. The only hope we have got is to provide something new, lively and exciting.”

They then showed the voluntary film footage made by Pendle Movie Makers which helped win the Portas Pilot for Nelson.

Azhar Siddique, a former Nelson and College student who has just been on the BBC’s Apprentice, was a guest at the ACE and said he was born here. “I have got a lot of history with the community of Nelson itself and Pendle,” he said.

The students explained what they had planned, some on film.

Hanna then came up with some of the ideas being considered, including sports activities, boot camps, setting up college businesses in shops and a Fresher’s week.