Multi-million pound Old Town revival efforts continue

The monthly market in the Old Town has been hailed a success.
The monthly market in the Old Town has been hailed a success.

Work is still ongoing to revive Hemel Hempstead’s Old Town following the completion of it’s multi-million pound 
refurbishment.

The new-look High Street was relaunched with a new monthly market last year after the works had been dogged by months of delays.

The thriving monthly market in Hemel Hempstead's Old Town

The thriving monthly market in Hemel Hempstead's Old Town

It meant shoppers stopped visiting the Old Town as shop traders complained of dwindling trade.

Now work is being done to drive up footfall to the historic part of the town, with the monthly weekend market proving very successful.

Chris Taylor, group manager for strategic planning and regeneration at Dacorum Borough Council, said: “The Old Town physically looks brilliant, but we have not got the footfall up there.

“There is some way to go with the Old Town and that is making sure there are things there that attract people. People will come if there is something they want to come here for.”

“There are not that many empty units up there and we are trying to work with traders to increase footfall.

“The monthly market has been very successful. I know the Old Town Partnership would like more of that sort of thing.

“We did the RAF march up through there to get more people up there. Hopefully, when the Tour of Britain comes we can do something there.”

The council boss highlights tea one shop business –The Tea Tree – as a success story of the High Street.

“I know the new tea shop is always busy,” said Mrs Taylor.

“She is opening longer hours than she expected to. If you can find what the market wants then people will go.

“Business has to be driven by what the market wants.”

She said the council is working through the Old Town Partnership with businesses to come up with ideas to increase the number of shoppers visiting.