Hampstead high street campaigners fight on despite losing out on Mary Portas funding
PUBLISHED: 09:00 07 August 2012 | UPDATED: 10:31 07 August 2012
Campaigners have vowed to fight on to save their high street despite losing out in their latest funding bid to regenerate Hampstead.
The town team has called on residents to pledge money to a community fund to try and save the village from what campaigners fear will become “a clone town”.
The renewed appeal comes after Hampstead was overlooked for a payout from a £1.5million funding pot.
Campaigners were told last week by government officials that Hampstead had not been nominated as a pilot town to benefit from recommendations made by Mary Portas, “Mary Queen of Shops”, to save the country’s ailing shopping districts.
The first stage of the town team’s plan involves “mapping” the area, calling on records at the Land Registry Office to pinpoint which landlords own which properties in Hampstead High Street, Heath Street and other roads off the shopping thoroughfares.
Jessica Learmond-Criqui, who helped to save grocer’s Pure Fruit from closure, admitted the campaign would be hamstrung if it failed to work with landlords and offer them something in return.
She said: “We need to explain to landlords our vision for Hampstead and that there is benefit of being part of it,” she said.
“Reducing the rent on some empty shops and having some businesses in which will serve the community, which will hopefully increase the footfall.
“If Hampstead can become a shopping destination, the shops will do better and they will be able to pay more rent, but at the moment some rent is disproportionate.”
Ms Learmond-Criqui eventually hopes to use powers under the Localism Act to exert more control over which shops move into the area.
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