St Neots, which had already announced its intention to bid for the money, will be in competition with Ramsey and St Ives, along with hundreds of towns from across the country. The winning towns would work with Housing Minister Grant Shapps, retail guru Mary Portas and Whitehall, becoming a Portas Pilot Town and get a share of £1million of Government money to help revitalise the countrys ailing high streets. Peter Baker, chairman of the St Ives Civic Society, put together the St Ives bid with businessman Michael Purchas for nearly £90,000. We had no time to set anything up so we just went ahead and did it, he told The Hunts Post. We wanted to match the heritage aspects with the retail. Our vision is to have black finger posts pointing to heritage sites and maps that take people pass the shops. Theres the chance that as we are one of the few private bids, not made by councils, that theyll look on us favourably. St Neots town centre manager Katie Hollingworth said: As it stands the high street offer does not live up to expectation. We need to work together to achieve our aims and a feasibility study will help us achieve this. The successful Portas Pilots will be notified in May.