Traders launch bid to save high road

SHOPKEEPERS are pulling together to fight for their high street, even as a popular clean up event was cancelled. There has been a Kilburn Spring Clean, for the last three years at the end of March, but the event has been axed because the area no longer

SHOPKEEPERS are pulling together to fight for their high street, even as a popular clean up event was cancelled.

There has been a Kilburn Spring Clean, for the last three years at the end of March, but the event has been axed because the area no longer has a town centre manager.

Camden Council said the Kilburn event would be replaced by a London-wide event, to be held in May and June.

There is a glimmer of light for Kilburn High Road, however, as shopkeepers are meeting this week to agree a constitution for a new pressure group for small businesses.

Up to ten businesses are already involved in Kilburn Business Friends (KBF), but organisers have said they have had interest from 50 others.

Zulfi Ahmad, who is the chairman of the new organisation and runs Zulfi's Barbers in Kilburn High Road, said businesses were setting up the group 'out of desperation' but were receiving support in its creation from Camden Council.

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He said: "By forming this group we want to put pressure on the Government to change their mind about these extreme measures, in particular, the rates which have gone up by an astronomical amount."

Anis Kapadia, vice chairman of the KBF, said: "We want to have enough clout to get things done on the high road. Basically, we have to do this collectively."

On the news that the Kilburn Spring Clean would not go ahead this year, he said: "We need events that can bring people to the high road for whatever reason and Spring Clean was a way to get the community involved."

Josie Warshaw, who was hoping to organise a stall to encourage cycling at this year's events said she was 'disappointed' it would not go ahead.

She said the town centre manager, who was employed by Camden Council up until late last year to promote Kilburn High Road, 'made a huge difference for people.'

Ms Warshaw said: "There used to be someone to go to if there were issues and now there is no one. I think it hugely affects the quality of life for people around here."

A council spokesman said the Kilburn Spring Clean event had been incorporated into the Capital Cleanup - an annual London-wide clean up programme operating in May and June.

He said: "As part of our response to the recession, we have put additional investment into supporting town centres, focusing on areas where businesses say they need help and where we know we can make a difference.

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