FORGET Mary Portas … here in Horsham we have our own Queen of Shops – in the shape of Swan Walk centre manager Gill Buchanan.
Fashionista Mary Portas last week unveiled The Portas Review - a report on the future of Britain’s high streets for the Government. In it she proposes that shopping centres should become destinations for socialising, culture and creativity.
Well, guess what, Horsham has already Been There, Done That, thanks to our own Gill Buchanan.
The Portas Review has come up with 28 recommendations to help breathe life back into Britain’s ailing shopping centres. And top of the list are Mary’s plans for towns to put in place ‘Town Teams’ - a strategic and operational management team.
But Horsham is once again ahead of the game - with Gill Buchanan heading up Horsham Unlimited - the town’s own team which has been working on various promotional schemes since 2010.
Gill said this week that she was delighted that Mary had focused on the importance of vibrant high streets. She added: “Horsham Unlimited, the town centre business partnership, had already identified many of the areas highlighted by her report and Horsham town centre is a fair way down the road in terms of maintaining its vitality, point of difference with many independent stores and the thriving Carfax and Bishopric markets.
“Horsham Unlimited is in effect the ‘Town Team’ and we have been working on many initiatives throughout 2010 and 2011, including mentoring and training opportunities for smaller businesses.”
And, she pledged that the team would continue working to maximise Horsham’s strengths “to keep Horsham punching above its weight.”
Go Gill. Oh, and if you want to help keep Horsham thriving ... well, there are still two shopping days left until Christmas ...