Brentwood High Street cited in government report as an example to others

�The government says Brentwood High Street is an example that other town centres should follow.

Last week, Local Government Minister Grant Shapps named Brentwood in his department’s response to the Mary Portas Review of the nation’s high streets.

He wrote that: “In Brentwood, food markets and arts events have been drawing in crowds who otherwise would not have visited.”

Only Brentwood and South Kensington were named in the section of the report recommending how towns can encourage shoppers back to high streets.

Apparently inspired by the success of Brentwood’s regular farmers’ markets, the report recommended that towns across the country hold market days and make it easier for people to become market traders.

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Cllr Mark Reed, chairman of Brentwood Council’s business panel, said: “It’s wonderful that we’ve been recognised.

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“I think we’ve got some wonderful traders, especially the independent traders. There are business people who are working so hard here.”

Nick Abbott, who works locally and is chairman of both the Brentwood First business forum and Brentwood Renaissance Group, which helps promote the town, also welcomed the recognition.

The Renaissance Group has funded arts events including the Martyr’s Walk street theatre, which told the tale of Protestant martyr William Hunter’s life. It was performed last Saturday in the High Street.

He said: “The news is fantastic.We’ve been hoping to develop a sense of civic pride. With the Martyr’s Walk we’ve had schools involved and we think that, if we can develop that civic pride at a young age, it bodes well for the future.”

The Renaissance Group submitted a bid last week to become a Portas Pilot Town Centre, which would give it access to a share of �1m from a government fund for high street improvements.

The council has made a YouTube video highlighting life in the borough.

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