Bid for �10,000 to boost Christmas trade in Barking

The council hopes to secure �10,000 in government cash to revitalise Barking town centre and boost trade in the lead up to Christmas.

It has made a bid to the department for communities and local government, and if successful will spend the funds on a programme of initiatives to attract shoppers in December.

This could include a Christmas market, seasonal entertainment, and extra Christmas decorations.

Lyn Dale, administration manager at Vicarage Field Shopping Centre, in Barking, said the cash is sorely needed.

“The last few Christmases have been tough for businesses in Barking. Something like this could really make a difference,” she told the Post.

Asked what she believes the money should be spent on, Ms Dale added: “It would be lovely to have a big Christmas tree with lights in the centre of Barking.

“It would be a great place for carol singers and school children etc to perform and it would hopefully attract people to come and listen who would then shop in the area.”

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“I do however think some of the money should be spent on things that would remain after the season ends, like more bins and better lighting.”

Mark Kass, enterprise development manager at Barking Enterprise Centre, backed the bid. He said: “Absolutely anything that can help drive shoppers into our town centre, especially those who might otherwise go to Romford or Westfield, is more than welcomed.”

Barking MP Margaret Hodge has also thrown her weight behind the application. She said: “The aim of the bid is to capture the full potential for increased spend in our major centre. I really hope we are successful.”

The bid follows the Portas Pilot competition which was run earlier this year. Local authorities were invited to apply for funding from the government to revitalise ailing town centres following a lead set by celebrity retail guru Mary Portas.