It was great to see so Northumberland Square and Howard Street full of hustle, bustle and merriment yesterday.
The Christmas Markets are back in North Shields town centre this weekend and yesterday I went along with my wife to buy some Christmas gifts for family members. It was lovely to see the newly regenerated heritage area full of happy crowds. There were choirs singing on the stage, food stalls around the square and gift stalls all the way down Howard Street. Despite a nip in the area there was a fantastic festive atmosphere.
I bumped into lots of residents from around the ward and everyone was commenting about how much better the new layout was, compared to the cramped and muddy markets hosted in the square before the regeneration took place. The next street layout makes room for more stall holders and more visitors, and also enables other venues such as the local churches and the Saville Exchange to open their doors to visitors.
I even spotted several people I know from Whitley Bay… yes, people from Whitley Bay coming to shop in North Shields!
For me this weekend is really important for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s just great to see the canny folk of Shields enjoying their town centre and taking pride in it. But secondly, we need to be showing the potential of the town to a wider audience. The markets bring in visitors from further afield, and showcase the economic opportunity the town presents. This is what makes business owners think seriously about investing in the town, seeing it as a location for their next shop, restaurant or office location.
I’m looking forward to North Shields hosting the markets again next year, even bigger and even better.
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