Projects will boost High Rd
EXCLUSIVE by Will Davies The High Road is not being neglected and traders will benefit from a raft of recession-busting projects, according to the council s top dog. In an interview with the Times, Cllr Keith Moffitt, leader of Camden Co
by Will Davies
The High Road is not being neglected and traders will benefit from a raft of recession-busting projects, according to the council's top dog.
In an interview with the Times, Cllr Keith Moffitt, leader of Camden Council, said a crack team is being set up to replace the Kilburn Town Centre Management programme to give tailored advice and help struggling businesses from going under.
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Although centrally-based to cover all of Camden's town centres, the team will have officers with expert knowledge of Kilburn.
Cllr Moffitt told the Times: "Up until now you've had individuals working in particular areas. We think it could be strengthened by people having access to the expertise of the whole team. Kilburn will be a focus and I will be expecting them to spend a lot of time down there."
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He said the team will have more clout to attract a better range of businesses, curbing the recent swell of bookmakers and pound shops in Kilburn.
Cllr Moffitt denied Camden or Brent Council was neglecting the area - but blamed the former Labour administration for treating Kilburn like a 'poor cousin'.
He said: "Kilburn was seen as being very peripheral and on the edge of the borough. With Brent we have been able to cut through the bureaucracy and sort things out. Kilburn has not been forgotten at all. But it is an area which has seen far better days and does need support now."
Camden Council's plans to rejuvenate Kilburn include:
* Skills training sessions for small businesses.
* Each ward will be given annual budgets of �10,000 with residents attending area forums able to decide what to spend it on.
* Empty units will be filled with 'pop-up shops' and Cllr Moffitt revealed the council will soon be setting one up in Kilburn High Road.
He said: "It is about negating the impression that everything is closing down.
It will give advantages to people like struggling artists to have exhibitions that they wouldn't otherwise be able to have."
* Instead of putting up a 'closing down' sign estate agents and landlords will be encouraged to put up posters with plans for re-opening.
Cllr Moffitt said: "It helps to boost people's mood.
What you don't want to do is allow an impression to be created that an area is on a downward incline."
* A high profile scheme will be launched to promote small businesses and encouraging people to come to the area. It will include a new a directory of independent local shops.
Speaking about other common complaints by residents, Cllr Moffitt said most of Kilburn's much maligned traffic problems were beyond the council's control.
He said: "People should see it as an area with great transport links and shouldn't come by car."
And regarding shoddy shopfronts, he said the council had no power beyond giving traders advice.
He added: "You can't legislate against bad taste. Some things are just tacky - it's quite hard to do anything about that!"