Home   Dartford   News   Article

We’re glad Mary Portas didn’t film in our town

Mary Portas came to Dartford town centre last year.
Mary Portas came to Dartford town centre last year.

She came, she saw... but she went to Cornwall instead.

Mary Portas’s new TV show, which dubs the Queen of Shops now Queen of High Streets, focused on just three of the 12 towns chosen to be Portas Pilots – and Dartford wasn’t one of them.

Instead Liskeard in Cornwall, Margate’s High Street and Roman Road in London’s East End were picked for the programme.

But Dartford hasn’t missed out on anything – the retail guru had plenty of advice when she visited a few weeks ago.

Dartford was awarded an £80,000 grant in May last year and a Town Team was set up to manage the money.

Mary Portas comes to Dartford Town Centre.
Mary Portas comes to Dartford Town Centre.

Team member and council leader Cllr Jeremy Kite (Con) said: “We were actually very pleased not to have the camera crew here, so we didn’t kick up a fuss when we weren’t chosen to be one of the featured towns.

“We wanted the benefits of the grant and Mary’s expertise, but without the negative coverage and the distraction of the cameras.

“We really wanted this to be about Dartford’s improvement and not pandering to what makes good television.

“I think we got the best of both worlds and that’s been proven given what happened in Margate.”

In last week’s episode of “Mary, Queen of the High Street” Margate did not fare well.

People complained that everything was done for the television rather than the town and retailers were angry at being criticised for giving up, when a quarter of the businesses in the town had already closed down.

Disagreements between Mary Portas and Margate’s Town Team escalated and various members and businesses pulled out of being involved at all.

Cllr Kite added: “When you look at Margate it makes me pleased that Mary Portas didn’t film in Dartford.”

The retail guru paid a visit to the town last month, away from the TV cameras, to speak to businesses and the Town Team on what improvements they had planned.

Almost 400 towns across the UK applied to be a part of the campaign to rejuvenate their High Streets.

Dartford and Margate were two of the 12 chosen, and each took a share of a £1million fund.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More