Dartmouth has failed in its £75,000 Mary Queen of Shops bid for Government cash to turn the town into a 'virtual' shopping centre.

But the town's businesses are not giving up. Business forum chairman Paul Reach said: 'We will have another bash.'

Now the town is looking at making a second bid for the Mary Portas money aimed at revitalising local economies.

Dartmouth was one of more than 300 towns bidding to become a Mary Portas pilot town and grab a slice of the £1.2m pot to help save struggling town centres. The bid had involved turning the town into a world wide web hotspot by selling the town on the internet with free wi-fi and setting up a virtual shopping precinct.

Only 12 towns were handed a share of the cash. The only Westcountry success was Liskeard.

Others included much larger towns like Stockport, Croydon and Market Rasen in Lincolnshire.

But Mr Reach said that although the decision not to include Dartmouth's bid was a 'disappointment' the town was aiming to take part in a second round of bids for a new round of Portas grants.

'There is a second round and the deadline for that is June 30 with a decision expected in July,' said Mr Reach.

'We are going to have another go. Next week we will have a look at it, analyse the winners and see what we can do to submit our bid.'

He said that it appeared that the successful bids had involved much larger towns than Dartmouth.

'We have had a quick look at the successful ones and there is nothing that you can see that identifies them as special. Some of the videos they produced were atrocious but we haven't seen the written applications,' he said.

The forum is currently making a bid for a £100,000 grant from the FSB Coastal Community Fund to improve links from the town centre to Townstal and the proposed new 400-home community.

The bid is asking for cash for feasibility studies into projects like road trains, trams and even a cable car connection.

The forum is also looking at asking the town's retail businesses to back moves to turn Dartmouth into a Business Improvement District – and accept a one to 1.5 per cent increase in their business rates so that the cash can be used to market the town.

Mr Reach predicted the increase would probably provide around £60,000 a year which could be pumped directly into supporting businesses in the town.

He said it was likely to cost an extra £180 a year which could be looked upon as a business marketing budget.