Mary’s high street probe

Mary Portas
Mary Portas

Mary Portas is visiting Rotherham town centre today as part of a national investigation into the state of Britain’s high streets.

The TV star, famous for show Mary Queen of Shops, is undertaking an independent review to identify what government, businesses, local authorities and local enterprise partnerships can do to promote the development of more prosperous and diverse high streets.

She will be in Rotherham between 12.45pm and 2pm, meeting councillors and business leaders.

Mary said: “We have had a fantastic response to the review so far and received a huge number of ideas and I am actively encouraging everyone who cares about the future of the high street to have their say.

“I am working through all the ideas in the many contributions received and listening to key stakeholders including big and small retailers.

“My visit to Rotherham promises to be as informative as my recent high street visits. These visits give me the chance to meet important stakeholders and look at the success of local solutions to high street problems.”

She added: “At the end of 2008, the average town centre vacancy was under 6 per cent.

“At the end of 2010 it was 14.5 per cent – more than doubling in the space of a year. If the decline continues at this rate in two years time almost a third of UK high streets will be standing empty.

“However, there is a real passion to bring back vibrancy to our high Streets and I am determined that this will happen.”

Mary was asked to carry out the review by PM David Cameron and Deputy PM Nick Clegg with the aim of seeing what is needed to ‘bring back the bustle’ to town centres during the recession.