Video: Retail guru Mary Portas returns to see Rotherham transformation

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A retail guru who helped to secure a cash boost for Rotherham’s high street returned to the town to see how the money had been spent.

Rotherham became one of 27 Portas Pilot towns following a visit by shopping supremo Mary Portas and was given £100,000 of Government money.

Mary Portas on a visit to High Street, Rotherham

Mary Portas on a visit to High Street, Rotherham

Mary met with retailers who have contributed to the town’s shopping renaissance, along with MP Brandon Lewis, minister for high streets, town centre and markets.

The pair also officially opened the Makers Emporium, which houses designers and artists and aims to support new businesses.

Since Rotherham was chosen, footfall figures have risen by 13 per cent, with more than 85 new businesses opening in the town centre since 2010.

Mary, who was keen to return to the town in a couple more years to see further progress, said: “There was always a motivation to make Rotherham town centre a success.

“It’s about seeing young entrepreneurs who never had a chance of getting into the high street on the high street.”

She added: “It has been really well managed. It has been a contribution of providers coming together.

“The town team has worked closely with the council, retailers and the skills academy. Landlords are actually listening to what people want on their high street and not just making a short term gain.”

Mr Lewis said there was a ‘real atmosphere’ to the town centre, which he hoped could be replicated in other towns and cities.