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Mar 05 2012

North Harrow sets out its stall to feel Mary Portas effect

Over 60 stallholders and a raft of entertainers are coming to a three-day street market in North Harrow next week.

Harrow Council and local traders are laying on the market and entertainment from 9th to 11th March as part of a package of support aimed at revitalising the shopping district and attracting more customers.

Hosting markets was one of over 30 recommendations set out in a study by retail guru Mary Portas, released back in December, into how to revive ailing high streets. The Council is providing stalls and pitches free of charge to stallholders.

Since summer 2011 the Council and traders have been working together to hold events, promote businesses and improve the look of North Harrow. The activity is funded by a successful bid to the Mayor of London’s Outer London Fund.

From Friday to Sunday next week, Pinner Road and Station Road will be thronged with stalls selling food, jewellery, fashion, homeware, baby products and more. Local schools, arts groups and performers including yoga instructors and opera singers will provide entertainment at four sound stages throughout the shopping district.

Cllr Keith Ferry, portfolio holder for planning and economic development on Harrow Council, said:

“It is way of attracting more residents to the area, promoting the traders here and at the same time giving local entrepreneurs a chance to market their open products.

“Over 90% of the stallholders are based in Harrow and I’m delighted to see so many local performers lined up to entertain shoppers too.

“Supporting our town centres is one of Harrow Council’s top priorities and the market is the latest in a long line of initiatives that are slowly bringing a buzz back to North Harrow.”

Rachel Jenman is North Harrow Town Centre manager and was employed by the Council following the successful Outer London Fund bid. She said:

“It’s sure to be a fantastic weekend and the event has already sparked major interest in North Harrow. We have a waiting list of stallholders wanting to come and sell their products and I think that shows what an entrepreneurial spirit we have here.

“The aim is for the market to become a permanent feature here and an addition to the great range of shops, cafes and restaurants.

“We know that times are still tough for traders and that is why we have been offering a range of support from visual merchandising programmes, to exploring ways to relax planning regulations.

“There is a way to go but everyone in North Harrow is working full pelt to revitalise the area.”

“The street market is about bringing the bustle back to North Harrow” – Harrow Council

Dr Ambroz Neil, chair elect of the North Harrow Business Association, said:

“This market is one of a number of initiatives that the North Harrow Business Association is actively driving.

“In all cases the principal focus is to re-position North Harrow, making it a more vibrant place for residents and business alike. However, we must accept that we have a challenge on our hands.

“Equally we know that it is a challenge that all who live and do business in the area can not afford to, and therefore will not lose. Simply put, failure is not an option.”

The market will be open for business from 9.30am to 5pm on Friday and Saturday and from 10m to 4pm on Sunday.

Source: Harrow Council

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