Come and be Queen Mary of our town centre, say traders

Picture shows: Mary Portas TX: BBC Two Tuesday 2nd June 2009 9pm
Picture shows: Mary Portas TX: BBC Two Tuesday 2nd June 2009 9pm

COME to Halifax and revamp our town centre – that’s the message to TV’s Queen of Shops Mary Portas from our town-centre traders.

Mary has been appointed by the Government to help revive Britain’s high streets.

She will tour the country to gather ideas for an independent review on the future of the high street – and we want her to stop in Halifax.

Robert Crabtree, owner of upmarket clothes shop Harold Crabtree, said he would welcome Mary.

“There should be more independent shops”, he said. “They give the town character and a reason to visit.

“The chain stores are everywhere but they are necessary. There needs to be a bit of everything.”

Emma Carter, workshop manager of jewellers Franklyns Ltd, said: “We’d absolutely welcome her here.

“There’s a lot of food shops and cafes, which is all right if you want a bite, but if you want to shop, you’d go to the White Rose.

“We need a Primark.

“In Market Street, there’s not enough quality retailers and it serves as a bus route. It could be a pedestrian zone as the bus station is so close by.

“And parking is a big issue in Halifax, people don’t know where to park.

She stressed the importance of regenerating the Piece Hall – a view echoed by Roger Harvey, of Harveys department store.

He said: “That would bring in thousands of people. It’s a hidden gem but underdeveloped.

“Mary Portas says one of the problems in towns are clones but ours isn’t. I would like to see more towns like us, where everything isn’t the same.”

Ash Rashid, of clothes store In-2-de, said: “We do need some more independent shops.

“I think they need to sort out the buildings though. The bottom floors are all right but the top floors are all empty.

“They need to make them into apartments or something.”