Success of Norwich Lanes becoming a blueprint for other places - as far as Norway

Lower Goat Lane in Norwich Lanes. Picture: Denise Bradley

Lower Goat Lane in Norwich Lanes. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

The bustling hub of independent shops in Norwich Lanes is fast becoming a blueprint for other cities, with places as far as Norway hoping to replicate its success.

Norwich Lanes. Lower Goat Lane. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norwich Lanes. Lower Goat Lane. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

There are more than 300 shops, restaurants and bars in the quarter, which has become one of the most popular shopping districts in Norwich.

It has a committee which organises an annual summer fair, and has sought to showcase the best the area has to offer by creating a brand.

Last year's Norwich Lanes Summer Fayre saw a 15,000-strong footfall, and a dedicated Twitter account has 12,500 followers.

Jonty Young, marketing manager for the Lanes, said: 'We have started getting inquiries from other places. Someone from Arendal in Norway got in contact just last week.

'We have offered to go and help them mimic what we do because it works.

'We want to create a blueprint for other cities.'

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There were fears when Chapelfield opened in 2005 it would have a devastating impact on the survival of Norwich's eclectic independent shops.

But the medieval streets, alleyways and open spaces have gone from strength to strength, have their own newspaper, and now towns and cities in the UK including Bath and Margate have asked for help.

Mr Young said the success of the area was due to creating a sense of community, and striving to keep the chain stores out.

It follows last year's success when the Lanes was crowned top of the shops in the city category of national awards competition the Great British High Street.

Mr Young said things really took off from there. 'The Great British High Street has pushed it to another level,' he added.

Now he is putting together a list of what the Norwegian harbour's local-retailer group should do to reignite the area and deal with the threat of out-of-town shopping centres.

'It's not quite the same as having very good local knowledge but most of our marketing activities will obviously work anywhere.'

Mr Young said in the future the committee could offer a service to other cities and towns, with the money feeding back into the Norwich Lanes community.

Jonathan Crinnion, restaurant manager at Maddermarket Kitchen on St John's Maddermarket, said: 'It's not just that what we are doing in Norwich has been recognised, but it has been seen in other cities around the world as a good example of how to turn around an ailing high street.'

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