Market Rasen

En route to Portas Pilot Market Rasen in Lincs which has reduced empty shops by 60 per cent and created new foody hub. Who says the high street’s dead. — Mary Portas

Market Rasen, a small Lincolnshire market town, has turned around its fortunes, from a failing town, to reducing shop vacancy rate by 60%, by focussing on what matters, small retailers, community and a sustainable local economy. Such as been the success, that folk now want to come into Market Rasen.

Market Rasen now has a thriving market, an art festival.

Market Rasen has achieved this success and turnaround within just a few months.

Today Mary Portas visited Market Rasen and she was very impressed by what had been achieved in only a few months.

Contrast with Aldershot and Farnborough, where the policy is destroy small businesses, drain money out of the local economy. Town centres destroyed by greed and planners in the pocket of developers.

The current plans for Farnborough are more of the same failed policy. Hand the town to developers to trash. A c 1720s coaching inn, The Tumbledown Dick, that existed long before the town, is earmarked for demolition for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

In Aldershot, a Victorian Arcade was demolished and replaced by a plastic replica, it in turn to be trashed, destroying small shops to make way for an unwanted Wetherspoons and Poundland. Outside The Arcade, small shops are threatened with demolition. Westgate, an ugly development of a large supermarket and tacky chain fast food outlets, is laying waste to what little is left of the local economy.

The sick joke is that Rushmoor (local council for Aldershot and Farnborough) applied for Portas Pilot status. It would have been a complete waste of money. You do not need Portas Pilot money, you simply listen to local communities, not get into bed with developers and big business.

When you look at what other councils are doing, including working with local communities not against, you realise just how Neanderthal and backwards the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor.

Cambridge has built into its planning policies a sustainable local economy. Islington has built into its planning policies protection of local shops, recognises the need to stop the spread of junk food outlets due to the obesity epidemic.

Brighton has North Laines. A very popular area.

Lincoln has Sincil Street. The Strait, Steep Hill and Bailgate. And yet the City Council is determined to lay waste to Sincil Street.

There is a myth, peddled by Big Business, developers and councils in their pockets, that people prefer High Street clone shops, every town Clone Town, all looking the same. They do not.

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