July 24 2014 Latest news:

Local Weather

Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 27°C

min temp: 16°C

Five-day forecast

Retail guru Mary Portas brings new Town Team to save Primrose Hill

Mary Portas was speaking at St Mary's Primrose Hill. Picture: Polly Hancock Mary Portas was speaking at St Mary's Primrose Hill. Picture: Polly Hancock

Friday, July 4, 2014
12:48 PM

Retail guru Mary Portas has revealed she will be heading up a new crack team of Primrose Hill residents, business owners and landlords in a bid to rejuvenate the area’s high street and rescue key businesses from property developers.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

The self-styled “Queen of Shops” believes her new Town Team – an initiative already repeated in town centres across the country – could make “something magical” happen to the area, and has urged the community to get behind the plan as well as an array of other schemes.

The new group of about eight representatives would work on a number of areas, improving Primrose Hill for residents, visitors and businesses.

It comes as a campaign grows to save The Albert pub from being turned into flats, a long battle continues to stop businesses in the Utopia Village complex being turfed out in favour of homes and footfall for shops still struggles.

Speaking to an audience at St Mary’s Primrose Hill on Wednesday last week, the 54-year-old invited anyone “except moaners” to apply.

She said: “One of the key recommendations I put in my report to the government was the formation of Town Teams – the mix of all the stakeholders who can come together and lobby for changes in their town.

“And I’m a little bit embarrassed we don’t have one in Primrose Hill.

“I think we can make something extraordinarily magical happen here.”

She added: “We have a sort of lovely community here in Primrose Hill in a rather privileged way. But I genuinely think we want to be more social and community minded.”

The formation of Town Teams was one of 28 recommendations Ms Portas made in an independent report to government to “put the heart back into our high streets”.

Hampstead is currently the only other place in Camden with its own Town Team, founded last year by Glenda Jackson, MP.

Jessica Learmond-Criqui, who spearheads the Hampstead Shops Campaign Town Team, said she “strongly encouraged” other areas to set up their own groups.

“Something high streets don’t have is organisation, which is what Town Teams can bring,” she said.

“We’ve been doing a number of different things here in Hampstead. We have our own tech-guru trying to bring technology into our high street shops, and it also allows us to look at planning applications for the creation of businesses that we may already have in abundance, such as charity shops and estate agents.”

As Primrose Hill plays catch-up, it has a number of other initiatives in the pipeline also aimed at boosting the area.

The first issue of a new free, 12-page monthly publication called On the Hill will be printed in 
October, informing residents and visitors of upcoming events and community issues.

A Primrose Hill loyalty card could also see the light of day, and plans to create a Business Improvement District in the area, such as Camden Town Unlimited, have also begun.

Phil Cowan, a resident who has been leading many of the initiatives, said: “Over the years the high street here has improved a little. A few years ago there were almost 10 shops lying empty – now there are only a couple. But more needs to be done and we’re still missing basic shops like a butcher, although one could be on the way.

“The whole purpose is to help generate footfall and keep the high street vibrant.”

If you would like to get involved in the new Town Team, email philcowan2014@gmail.com or tweet @p_hillvintage.

Share this article

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead and Highgate Express visitors.


We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead and Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Forgotten your password?


Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead and Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

   Local advertisers

More news

Click here to read the Digital Edition of the Ham&High on screen
Use our Wedding site to help you plan your big day!
At WeddingSite we know how much you have to organise for your wedding day, that's why we have designed a set of FREE, simple-to-use tools to make the planning process easy & hassle-free. FIND OUT MORE
Find a date using our online dating and friend finder
You can meet new friends, find romance or simply meet up online with people sharing similar interests and hobbies. FIND OUT MORE
Find a local business using our online directory search
Need a plumber? Or a florist? Or anything else? Search our business directory to find Hampstead businesses in just a few seconds. FIND OUT MORE
Family notices from the Ham&High, with readers' tributes
In memoriam, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, best wishes & special days. FIND OUT MORE