POLITICS
11/09/2013 08:49 BST | Updated 11/09/2013 08:51 BST

Mary Portas Blames Pilot Towns Failure On Lack Of 'Full' Coalition Support

PA
Prime Minister David Cameron and retail expert Mary Portas walk through a street market in Camden, London.

Retail expert Mary Portas has blamed the lack of "full" government support for the failure of her 'Portas Pilot' towns to revive British high streets.

The TV presenter, who was picked to lead a government review into British high streets in 2011, helped to create 27 'Portas Pilots', as areas which would receive grants to help local shops.

However, writing to members of Parliament's communities and local government select committee, Portas said: “No amount of money or energy can combat the fatal flaws in the system which I recommended government address in late 2011; business rates, parking controls, building usage, empty properties, and out-of-town planning.”

She previously called on the government to adopt "clear policies" on how to save British high streets.

Portas told MPs that any suggestions she had influenced the selection of Portas Pilot Towns was "categorically untrue".

The letter came after Portas faced a grilling before the committee last week on the progress of her review.

Retail veteran Bill Grimsey has accused Portas of being the "wrong" person to lead the government review, as she was a "PR celebrity" who used the opportunity for "maximum" publicity.

In response to Grimsey's criticism, Portas quipped: "I must have done something to Bill Grimsey in a former life...it must be that I didn’t speak to him about my review.”