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Jun 20 2013

PraxisReform Says: 14.5% of Harrow’s shops are closed

A-closed-shop-008-150x150Local campaigner PraxisReform has surveyed over 500 of Harrow’s retail premises and found that only 85.5% of them are actively trading.

Back at the start of 2013, PraxisReform visited neighbouring boroughs to Harrow, and afterwards felt that High Streets in Harrow were worse hit than surrounding areas. Then, after seeing a number of news articles originating from Harrow Council, claiming that with help from retail guru Mary Portas, Harrow’s shop vacancy rates were amongst the lowest in the country, and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggested as the source of these figures.

None of this chimed with PraxisReform’s experience, so he went looking for evidence independently to confirm or deny the council’s claims. It emerged that Mary Portas wouldn’t comment on any involvement she may or may not have had with Harrow Council, and the ONS explicitly denied any knowledge of having carried out statistical analysis of shop vacancy rates in Harrow.

PraxisReform said: “I’d heard a lot of stories about how the Internet, the global recession and large out-of-town shopping centres were taking business away from local High Streets, but until I compared Harrow to surrounding boroughs, I didn’t realise how badly hit Harrow was.”

“Shortly thereafter, I kept seeing articles authored by Harrow Council, where Keith Ferry or some other Council Panjandrum would claim that Harrow had very low shop vacancy rates compared to the rest of London, and I felt that this claim didn’t match my own experience. I’ve previously highlighted many half-built constructions around Harrow that the Council seemed to have forgotten about, but up until now, I didn’t have solid evidence to back up my gut feeling that Harrow’s High Streets were going down the toilet”

The survey stretched from Harrow Weald’s Bus Garage to Harrow-on-the-Hill tube station, and encompassed all the side roads which had parades of shops visible from the main shopping area.

This is the area which PraxisReform considered represented the “heart” of Harrow, because those roads contain such a high density of transport infrastructure and amenities, and thus those will be the areas that visitors, tourists and residents are most likely to encounter when travelling to, or around, Harrow.

Now, having produced this evidence, Harrow’s council is invited to double check the accuracy of the findings, and start owning up the fact that the London Borough of Harrow has been consistently let down by successive councils of all political colours.

The council’s efforts to attracted extra shoppers to the town centre so far have been nothing more than short-term gimmicks, with no lasting benefits.

What Harrow really needs is:

  • More parking spaces for visitors to the area, with parking charges that are competitive with those charged by privately owned shopping centres
  • Action to curb extortionate rents, and disincentives for landlords to leave shops empty
  • Cuts in business rates for people starting new small businesses in the area

The same survey will be repeated in a few months time, so see if there has been any improvement to the number of shops open for business in the borough.

Source: @PraxisReform

 

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16 comments

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  1. john hobbs

    Do you shop local with all of Harrows Hidden Stealth Cameras and excessive Parking charges , I don’t anymore . As for Northwick Park Hospital Parking charges ,what ever you go in for you will come out with depression .

  2. Praxis Reform

    I guess we all know that politicians lie everytime their lips move; but I feel that Councillor Ferry should atone for misleading us all for so long.

    Now that the Standards Board for England has been abolished, it seems that one can only complain to the local council about local councillors, who I strongly suspect will just close ranks and protect their best buddy Cllr Ferry.

    So, has anybody here any ideas as to where else I might report the slightly less than useless Cllr Ferry?

  3. john p hobbs

    Well you could say you will vote UKIP that seems to shake the others up a bit . After all many are only in it to feather their own nests , Cynique moi non , Jamais .
    Mind you they will probably end up in the Civic Centre with all the overpaid fat cats .

  4. Praxis Reform

    Come come John, everyone knows that UKIP is just a protest group pretending to be a political party. If people are going to shake the Politicians up a bit, it needs to be through more positive change… Complaining is far too easy for Politicians to ignore, and violence will just get more violence.

    Hence why I ask if there’s already a route to hold Cllr Ferry to account (no need to reinvent the wheel). If not, I’ll have to get a bit more creative, until Keith Ferry is forced to resign or repay the stipend that he’s been claiming under false pretences.

    n.b. Cllr Stoodley is on notice that I’m expecting big improvements from him; although it’s only fair to give him a while to settle into his new job, assess the mess he’s been left and then come up with an improvement plan.

  5. john p hobbs

    Well I didn’t say vote UKIP I said tell them you might , at the moment they are all running so scared they just may listen for a change , NAAAH probably not . I really think some of them have been living under a compost heap for many years .

  6. Cllr Willy Stoodley

    I have already given instructions for this to be looked into and the figures checked.

  7. john p hobbs

    The stealth camera near Wealdstone Station is set high up on the corner at the traffic lights about 150 yards from the area where it catches most drivers , it is approached by the four major roads there is one small sign if you are approaching from Harrow but approaching from Harrow Weald ,, North Harrow or Kenton there are no visible signs surely this is contrary to the CCTV rules . Still I have heard nothing of the statistics of Lockwoods Scam Cam although being given the names of three different people who are handling this . Come on Mick enough of your trick . JP Hobbs .

  8. john p hobbs

    Several years ago I visited the Civic centre and had cause to use the gents toilet some poor soul had written on the wall ” Dealing with these people is like trying to screw a hedgehog , just one little prick up against all the big pricks ” I now know how he felt nothing has changed . jp

  9. john p hobbs

    Today after giving the council a nudge with the help of friends I received an email tonight from yet another person at the council regarding Ali Babas stealth camera I had difficulty opening it !!!! Surprise Surprise it started by saying the council does not have the information you have requested then I lost connection , I will get my son who works with computers to sort it out , but Boyo does it not stink this has been going on for months Bob Blackman asked a long time ago they ignored him , why do I think someone is looking for time to fiddle the books , I will be asking the Police to look into this at some point . sounds like we need Rentokil round there….. without prejudice j p hobbs

  10. Jack

    I live in Harrow but I do most of my shopping in Watford because of the vast amounts of Free Parking in Watford!!

    Last Sunday I thought I’d try parking in Harrow and I was shocked to see that meters in Harrow charge you to park on a Sunday until 6:30pm, by then all the shops are closed. So I got back in my car and just drove elsewhere.

    Why don’t Harrow council try a month month trial and ease up on the parking fees and times and see what that does to bring people into the area to shop. Harrow has masses of train station parking which sits empty on weekends. Make those free on weekends and I bet you’ll see many people coming to Harrow to shop.

  11. john p hobbs

    Simple Jack HARROW SCEWS DRIVERS to cover their gross incompetence in most other areas , its time to thin out the top fat cats at the Civic centre and employ real workers .
    After all if they don’t have the figures I requested for their own stealth cameras how can they do the books ? Perhaps Inland Revenue should take a look someone needs to .

  12. john p hobbs

    Well after a long battle to get information from the Civic centre about the STEALTH Camera at Wealdstone station I finally got a reply after asking local friends on Facebook to bombard them , They are admitting that just the one of the THREE STEALTH cameras a few hundred yards apart has issued 1,654 PCNs in the financial year I believe the minimum fine is £60 but if you stop on the Zig ZAGS as I was forced to because of a bus pulling out of the bus stop forcing an on coming car into my path and a large van parked on the left my rear wheels were just on the end of the very faded zig zags for about five seconds that costs £110 , I did give a copy of my PCN to Navin Shah who looked at the pictures and said don’t worry I will deal with this , I never heard a word from him so didn’t have time to take this to tribunal as I had asked to do , so I believe1654 PCNs@ minimum £60 is about £100.000 pounds from the poor souls of Harrow , Dare any ask what the other two cameras made , you need a lot of time to find out .
    A lot of patience also as they are a tight knitted lot at the Civic Centre and may I say a few of them a tad Arrogant with it . ps I was so pleased they even referred to it as the STEALTH CAMERA . Now how about a mass protest ? I know a man who will organise it .
    WITHOUT PREJUDICE

  13. john p hobbs

    Have you noticed a lot of white and yellow paint going on Harrows roads lately but not much tarmac , I have just realised why…. paint makes money for Harrow council ….. tarmac makes good roads for Harrows people . Harrow screws-drivers .

  14. Jeremy Zeid UKIP Harrow

    Because white and yellow paint is cheap and VISIBLE, generating “revenue” while giving the illusion of activity. Once the potholes are filled, no one notices, they cost money and no “revenue”. SEEMPLES! Sorry can’t actually write a meerkat squeak after the “seemples”.

    So.. Here’s the conundrum: In next year’s local elections, as you going to vote for the same old shower who’ll promise you everything tomorrow, it’s always “tomorrow”,and give more of the same, or….. Make a real change and support UKIP and shake up this morally bankrupt excuse for a Council and its lumpen bureaucrats?

    Good manners prevent me from using the terms the Council really deserve.

  15. john p hobbs

    I am thinking of standing as a councillor next year but not sure if I am incompetent enough for Harrow . Maybe I could ask Del Boy at the Civic centre for a cushty job…. on big bucks .$$$$$£££££ . Jeremy any chance you can help with a petition against the STEALTH CAMERAS ? I have had a lot of interest especially from the traders in Wealdstone , I stood with a warning sign one morning even the bus drivers gave a toot and thumbs up well all but one .
    A couple of police officers asked what it was about when I told them the said good luck!!!! about time .

  16. Jeremy Zeid UKIP Harrow

    Will make a high profile protest against these disgusting “fine traps” a priority. It’s time that the Council and its public “servants” started serving as opposed to emulating cheap bullying mafiosi.

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