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Mary Portas returns to Margate to help 'relaunch' the town centre

By Isle of Thanet Gazette  |  Posted: October 13, 2012

  • Mary Portas is to return to Margate to help 'relaunch' the town centre

  • POP BY: Town Team treasurer Ian Darker and chairman Terence Painter GIPH20121007F-063_C

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MARY Portas will hit Margate High Street this weekend to help "relaunch" the town centre.

Channel 4 is filming scenes for the retail guru's new television series about the Portas Pilot towns.

Twelve teams were successful in bidding for money from the Government following Ms Portas review of high streets.

Margate Town Team won £100,000 with a vision of putting education at the heart of the high street alongside a market and plans for pop-up shops.

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Several members of the town team later quit the project, in part over issues with the fly-on-the-wall programme.

Filming went ahead however with businesses in The Parade and Old Town involved.

The reformed town team, led by estate agent Terence Painter, will visit London's Brick Lane market this weekend to promote Margate and invite guests to the town for the relaunch at The Parade next Saturday.

As part of the event, new pop-up shop Poportunity will open up to start-up businesses at 98-102 High Street, next to WHSmith.

Shopkeeper Billy Keefe invited Ms Portas's team back and believes the publicity can only be good for the town.

Mr Keefe, who runs Kiss Me Quick in The Parade, said: "The image of Margate has been somewhat tarnished over the years, with Dreamland closing and bad publicity about empty shops.

"This programme will go out across Europe and show the town in a new light with all the positive things happening here.

"I think if you wanted to buy a two-minute TV slot to promote Margate, it would cost you hundreds of thousands of pounds."

Production company Optomen has recruited local designers to reinvigorate empty shops, tidy up the town and provide entertainment, but this will not be funded from the Town Team budget. For more information, e-mail margatetown@gmail.com or drop in to see Ian Darker-Larkings at Lilly's Bistro on the High Street.

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