PARISH councillors in three of Hampshire’s market towns have agreed to continue funding their very own Mary Portas.
Having previously lauded the success of their Town Team, headed by Heidi Isa, Bishop’s Waltham, Denmead and Wickham were approached by Winchester City Council to ask if they would continue funding Mrs Isa’s position.
Her role covers everything from fundraising and marketing to setting up new business networks and raising customer service standards.
The city council has already secured £6,000 from Hampshire County Council to go towards marketing and advertising for the market towns.
Mrs Isa has been in the post for nine months, and the parishes have each agreed to add £5,000 from their reserves to pay for the second year of her position.
Bishop’s Waltham failed in its bid to be part of retail guru Mary Portas’ high street regeneration scheme in 2012 but received a consolation grant of £10,000, which was put towards hiring Mrs Isa to work as development officer.
Her work has been credited with boosting media coverage and gaining grants, such as £3,600 from the county council for a website promoting the town.
Councillor Rob Humby said: “I went round all the businesses in Bishop’s Waltham the other day and they all said what a great job Heidi has done.”