MP Priti Patel and Queen of Shops Mary Portas in summit

Halstead Gazette: Priti Patel Priti Patel

QUEEN of Shops Mary Portas and Witham MP Priti Patel have been sharing ideas on rejuvenating high streets. The Tory politician, whose constituency includes Stanway and Tiptree, was invited to the all-party Parliamentary group for town centres.

Retail marketing consultant Ms Portas is conducting a review for the Government on the future of shopping centres.

Her recommendations have not been published, but Ms Patel has been given a preview of what could be in the report.

She said: “I was pleased to hear Mary is advocating local authorities develop ambitious plans for town centre redevelopments, with a greater focus on community hubs and transport plans that consider options such as pedestrianisation to allow for town centre markets.

“She touched on relief on business rates and support for new models of retailing and enterprise in our towns.

“These areas are relevant to Witham and I know everyone with an interest in the area would like to see an ambitious plan for the future of Witham.”

Witham firms have said business rates need to be cut to attract more retailers into empty shops and help existing ones.

They have also called for more free parking and a better range of shops.

Ms Patel said: “Businesses are struggling and I welcome the interest Mary has taken in finding ways to rejuvenate high streets.”

Ms Portas, the presenter of Channel 4’s Mary, Queen of Frocks has been hired by Prime Minister David Cameron as a retail adviser during the economic slump.

Comments (6)

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5:56pm Wed 26 Oct 11

ravenmorpheus says...

So they got together spent 5 minutes "discussing" a problem and then no doubt spent the rest of the time living it up and gossiping.

And what will this "summit" (I do so love how the media bigs up what is simply a meeting) achieve?

Nothing.

What will our esteemed leader employing Ms Portas achieve - nothing, unless you count making Ms Portas even wealthier.


There are many reasons "the high street" is in a mess.

But one of the overriding factors is that people simply do not have the money to be spending.

The cost of living is ever increasing whilst wages stay stagnant, or in many cases are cut.

People are being made redundant by companies that are posting profits and giving bonuses to their CEOs.

The minimum wage brought in by Labour has been used as a means for employers to get away with paying as little as possible.

Until people are paid a living wage and/or the cost of living is reduced we will not see a return to a boom for most high streets because people simply do not have the money to spend and are increasingly becoming more cautious about getting into debt.

So what will Ms Portas and Ms Patel do about it? Yep. Nothing.
So they got together spent 5 minutes "discussing" a problem and then no doubt spent the rest of the time living it up and gossiping. And what will this "summit" (I do so love how the media bigs up what is simply a meeting) achieve? Nothing. What will our esteemed leader employing Ms Portas achieve - nothing, unless you count making Ms Portas even wealthier. There are many reasons "the high street" is in a mess. But one of the overriding factors is that people simply do not have the money to be spending. The cost of living is ever increasing whilst wages stay stagnant, or in many cases are cut. People are being made redundant by companies that are posting profits and giving bonuses to their CEOs. The minimum wage brought in by Labour has been used as a means for employers to get away with paying as little as possible. Until people are paid a living wage and/or the cost of living is reduced we will not see a return to a boom for most high streets because people simply do not have the money to spend and are increasingly becoming more cautious about getting into debt. So what will Ms Portas and Ms Patel do about it? Yep. Nothing. ravenmorpheus
  • Score: 0

7:22am Thu 27 Oct 11

love Dr says...

she is a dangerous snake,What has that woman achieved in her job so far
she is a dangerous snake,What has that woman achieved in her job so far love Dr
  • Score: 0

8:48am Thu 27 Oct 11

Sonpoe says...

I am a micro business, sole trader.
And have been in business for 15years. The demis of high street shops is partly due the ever increasing chain of super markets, taking over everyones trade, ie florists, butchers, bakers, fishmongers, clothes shop, newsagents...the list goes on. And we have to compete with Internet shopping. Yes this the age of Internet shopping and supermarket convienience shopping all under one roof and free parking.
We recently moved over earlier on this year to bigger premises to expand, we have been crucified by the rates and have fought with the council, with help from our local MP, to very little or no appeal to our and many other shop owners plite, that simply the rates are an exhausting drain on micro business and small high street shops like ourselves, where it is impossible to take on more staff.
All that will happen and is happening, that the look of high streets will be charity shops, cash converters, betting shops, fast food shops with more empty shops.
I am a micro business, sole trader. And have been in business for 15years. The demis of high street shops is partly due the ever increasing chain of super markets, taking over everyones trade, ie florists, butchers, bakers, fishmongers, clothes shop, newsagents...the list goes on. And we have to compete with Internet shopping. Yes this the age of Internet shopping and supermarket convienience shopping all under one roof and free parking. We recently moved over earlier on this year to bigger premises to expand, we have been crucified by the rates and have fought with the council, with help from our local MP, to very little or no appeal to our and many other shop owners plite, that simply the rates are an exhausting drain on micro business and small high street shops like ourselves, where it is impossible to take on more staff. All that will happen and is happening, that the look of high streets will be charity shops, cash converters, betting shops, fast food shops with more empty shops. Sonpoe
  • Score: 0

1:19pm Thu 27 Oct 11

Boris says...

Look at the frightening picture of Mary Portas above. She looks like something out of an old B-movie where a monster stomps through some American city causing death and destruction all round. Call out the Strategic Air Command, to zap her if they can!
(Actually, pleasant-looking Priti may be more of a threat...)
Look at the frightening picture of Mary Portas above. She looks like something out of an old B-movie where a monster stomps through some American city causing death and destruction all round. Call out the Strategic Air Command, to zap her if they can! (Actually, pleasant-looking Priti may be more of a threat...) Boris
  • Score: 0

11:55pm Thu 27 Oct 11

brooksider says...

Mary Portas is a hypocrite so should get on well with Priti Patel. Portas promotes and is also an advisor for the Westfield Shopping Centres, just the type of operation that is killing the high Street. Its strange she doesn't mention this on her website.
Its the same type of silence we get from Priti Patel when her murderous friends in Bahrain are mentioned. She is quick enough to take their money but slow to condemn them when they torture and kill doctors and nurses.
Mary Portas is a hypocrite so should get on well with Priti Patel. Portas promotes and is also an advisor for the Westfield Shopping Centres, just the type of operation that is killing the high Street. Its strange she doesn't mention this on her website. Its the same type of silence we get from Priti Patel when her murderous friends in Bahrain are mentioned. She is quick enough to take their money but slow to condemn them when they torture and kill doctors and nurses. brooksider
  • Score: 0

5:18pm Mon 31 Oct 11

rosebud 2 says...

well this is a joke i have a market stall on witham and half the town don,t know we have a market. as for the council they say alot and do nothing, we have heard it all before going to get market moved to better location but never happens as long as they get there rent ,which when you stand there all day and take next to nothing ain't cheap . they just don ,t care about our town. and lets face it they probley don,t live here. all we have are bookies,second hand shops,and takeaways,us traders don,t stand a chance.
well this is a joke i have a market stall on witham and half the town don,t know we have a market. as for the council they say alot and do nothing, we have heard it all before going to get market moved to better location but never happens as long as they get there rent ,which when you stand there all day and take next to nothing ain't cheap . they just don ,t care about our town. and lets face it they probley don,t live here. all we have are bookies,second hand shops,and takeaways,us traders don,t stand a chance. rosebud 2
  • Score: 0

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