Portas Pilot scheme: 'I've seen a huge drop in trade'
Ten of the 12 government-funded "Portas Pilot" towns have seen a fall in the number of occupied shop units.
They were awarded a share of a £1.2m fund, government support and access to the retail guru Mary Portas, but results have been mixed.
Dave Hartley runs a retail outlet in Nelson, one of the 12 pilot areas, but says he had seen "a massive drop in business in the last year".
"I've seen no benefit from it whatsoever", he added.
Launched a year ago, the "Portas Pilots" were created to showcase innovative ways of getting people back into their local shops.
But exclusive research commissioned for BBC Radio 4's You and Yours shows that in 10 of the 12 towns, more units closed than opened in the past year, with a loss of 95 units in all.
- BBC News