Report finds shoppers want more ‘interesting’ and ‘independent’ shops in Hampstead
One in three shoppers have rated Hampstead High Street as “poor” and in danger of losing its unique character and charm, according to a damning report published today (Thurs).
Shoppers have already begun deserting the once bustling High Street, choosing to shop elsewhere, the report has found.
As many as 250 people took part in a survey in June which formed the basis of the report produced on behalf of the Hampstead Shops Campaign.
It found that eight out of 10 shoppers want to see more “interesting” and “independent” shops which would help return the street to its former glory.
Jessica Learmond-Criqui, an employment lawyer who is leading the Hampstead Shops Campaign, welcomed the findings.
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She said: “The character of Hampstead High Street is withering on the vine. It has resulted in a beautiful and thriving High Street becoming a clone town with no footfall.
“We have to begin persuading the landlords that it is in their interest to reinvigorate the High Street.”
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The survey found better shopping options – including a good organic or whole foods store – topped the list of residents’ wishes.
There is also a need for more shops which cater for men and children.
The survey suggests there is growing interest in saving the High Street from being swamped by characterless chain stores and becoming just another generic high street.
The report, compiled by Hampstead resident Anne Ward – a former head of qualitative research at market research company Ipsos-Mori – said: “It is not too late to stop the rot.
“The perceived deterioration of Hampstead High Street is blamed squarely on the encroachment of mobile phone shops, chain stores and estate agents and the reduction of independent traders.
“The biggest danger is seen in the High Street becoming increasingly bland and undistinguished and driving away even more shoppers.”
Crusaders are now hoping they can preserve its character and charm before it is too late.
Ms Learmond-Criqui said: “A survey of this scale and depth has never been carried out before in Hampstead.
“Many participants confirmed they want to be actively involved in the campaign and Hampstead has a wealth of talent.
“The next step is to interact further with landlords to persuade them to bring shops to Hampstead which the community want.”
Last week the group announced it was set to receive a �10,000 government ‘Portas Pilot’ grant – an initiative set up by TV retail guru Mary Portas to help revitalise town centres.
n To join the campaign, visit www.facebook.com/SaveHampsteadShops or follow @hampsteadshops on Twitter.