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Embrace the charity shop and culture - designer's message to save town centres

PUBLISHED: 17:27 04 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:27 04 October 2019

Renowned designer Wayne Hemingway spoke as part of King's Lynn Business Week. Picture: David Street

Renowned designer Wayne Hemingway spoke as part of King's Lynn Business Week. Picture: David Street

Archant

Embrace the charity shop and find events that represent your town - that is the message from an international designer on how to save Norfolk's high streets.

King's Lynn Town Hall where Wayne Hemingway spoke. Picture: Ian BurtKing's Lynn Town Hall where Wayne Hemingway spoke. Picture: Ian Burt

Wayne Hemingway, creator of Red Or Dead and Hemingway Design, was in King's Lynn to present a talk on the future of the retail high street.

As part of Discover King's Lynn Business Week, businesses, designers and councillors attended the Town Hall to listen to Mr Hemingway and examples of thriving towns.

"There are deeper ways of making a town centre other than keeping the status quo or bringing back what was lost," Mr Hemingway said.

"There is so much excitement out there. Combining culture, retail and independence works and culture should be at the heart of whatever a town does.

Kings Lynn Classic Car Day in Tuesday Market Place at the centre of the town. Photo: Steven AdamsKings Lynn Classic Car Day in Tuesday Market Place at the centre of the town. Photo: Steven Adams

"By linking all three towns can do it, it's not one route it has to come together.

"There needs to be events in the town centre, that's not the same kind every town does.

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"You have to find something that belongs to King's Lynn. In the same way we do events in King's Cross on transport."

Mr Hemingway created Red Or Dead with his wife Geraldine Hemingway in 1982. Growing up in Blackburn it was the love of the high street that kick-started their move to London.

He added: "Our lives revolved around the town centre. Going out, dancing, watching bands and buying records.

"The result was to go out and buy my first record. What it means is a town centre is about experiences. Not about worshiping at the temple of retail.

"If anyone thinks retail will come back as it was then I believe you are totally misguided."

Town centres across Norfolk are seeing an increase in charity shops opening.

Mr Hemingway highlights how towns can use this to their advantage.

He added: "The charity sector is up like-for-like with retail by eight to 12pc. It's not as a result of austerity so a charity shop does not mean bang goes the neighbourhood anymore.

"If treated as one of the flagships it could be an important part of the town."

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