Partnership welcomes Portas Review
Douglas Development Partnership’s Chris Pycroft has welcomed recommendations made by retail expert Mary Portas in her report* into how to revive the high street.
Development manager Mr Pycroft said: ‘The Portas Review has started a much-needed national conversation about how to make the most of our high streets. Encouragingly, a number of recommendations Mary Portas makes in her review Douglas Development Partnership is either already implementing or considering for the future.
‘We’re already ahead of the game in respect of Ms Portas’s concept of a “town team”, which she sees as a “visionary, strategic and strong operational management team”. Some time ago the Council appointed Gill Anderson as Douglas town centre manager to work with the Development Partnership’s board and advisory group. These are decision-makers experienced in retail and business who are actively involved with the Partnership in helping change attitudes, driving schemes to regenerate the town and are taking a strategic view of the Douglas of the future. In short, a body of people working to identify, develop and communicate a Douglas “brand”.
DDP goes overboard at Christmas
Early in December the Partnership floated an idea in collaboration with the North Quay Community Association to brighten up Douglas harbour at Christmas: a Best-Dressed Boat competition.
Christmas emporium emphasises ‘shop local’ message
The series of Christmas emporia organised by Douglas Development Partnership is proving to be a storehouse of trading success.
Town centre manager Gill Anderson, (pictured - as a Christmas tree - with Laurence Skelly MHK at the official opening) said: ‘Feedback has been very positive with some traders reporting best-ever sales figures. The success of the emporia underlines the fact that even in these difficult times when households’ budgets are being stretched there is still an appetite for something different, for a new “look and feel” to the Christmas shopping experience with a mix of stalls selling local goods and street entertainment. This year we’ve seen how outdoor markets on the North Quay attracted encouraging numbers of shoppers and we were determined to build on that success and support local retailers during their most crucial trading period, Christmas.
‘We are grateful to the Department of Economic Development’s political member Laurence Skelly MHK for his support and of course to the many hundreds of Christmas shoppers who are voting with their feet - and their hard-earned pounds – to contribute to the success of each Christmas emporium.’
Festive flotillas for Christmas: Douglas Development Partnership goes overboard
Boat owners who harbour a desire to get creative this Christmas are being urged to attempt a little maritime makeover on their vessels and enter the Best-Dressed Boat competition.
Robin Middleton CBE, RNLI National Council member, former crew member and silver medal holder whose own festively decorated craft (pictured) brought some Christmas cheer to Douglas harbour last year has pledged a donation of £100 to Douglas RNLI, confident that more than 20 boat owners will enter into the spirit of the occasion.
The competition is being organised by Douglas Development Partnership whose development manager Chris Pycroft said: ‘Robin’s magnificently decorated boat last year was the inspiration for the challenge, so we’re enormously grateful to him for his support for the competition. The Partnership was keen that Douglas harbour, with its backdrop of the regenerated North Quay complete with its decorative lighting, should be brought into the festive atmosphere that now extends throughout the town centre and we’re hoping that not only boat owners but also local businesses will “go overboard” with their Christmas decorations.’
Christmas present for Douglas motorists
There will be free parking in Douglas Borough Council’s car parks at the Bottleneck and Shaw’s Brow on pre-Christmas Thursday evenings from 5pm beginning November 24 and at weekends up to December 25. There will also be free parking on designated sections of Douglas Promenade walkway from 9.30am to 9pm every day from November 24, 2011 to January 3, 2012. Parking will not be permitted in this area between the hours of 9.00pm and 9.30am.
Town centre manager Gill Anderson said: ‘Douglas is the place to be this Christmas. Douglas Development Partnership together with Douglas Borough Council are committed to supporting the town’s traders not only by creating a festive atmosphere with decorative lighting and a programme of outside merchandising events and street entertainment but also through this practical measure of introducing free parking at peak shopping times in the run-up to Christmas.’