‘New era’ for Gants Hill as traders welcome back shoppers

THE future is looking bright for Gants Hill as the man charged with bringing shoppers back to the area after the end of 15-month long roadworks promises to work for months and years to put it on the map.

Steve Miller, Gants Hill town centre manager, says he wants Gants Hill to become a “shopping and visiting destination point”.

He told the Recorder: “The major benefits of the works is making it pedestrianised and making the roundabout safer to use.

“It will be our job at the Gants Hill Business Partnership to not just focus on three days but the coming months and years to do as much as we can to promote the area and get our lost trade back.”

John Clark, chairman of the business partnership, said: “Things are changing for the better and Gants Hill has been given a huge boost which we must make the most of.”

The �7million Transport for London works started in July last year and were finally finished last week.

Disruption caused by roads leading to the roundabout being reduced from two to one lane meant traders struggled to draw in customers.

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Council leader Cllr Keith Prince said: “There’s a lot less clutter and it’s a lot more open now. Surface crossing makes people feel safer and gives it more of a feeling of one-ness which we didn’t have before.”

He added: “We will improve parking on offer. I hope people will return.”

Cllr Ruth Clark, who has long championed the roadworks, was delighted with Friday’s official unveiling.

She said: “It’s been seven years I’ve been fighting for this, three as a resident, four as a councillor – I can’t believe it.

“I want a thriving night-time economy and to see more people coming to Gants Hill.

“Unfortunately, you have to get the bad before you get the good but it was in such a state. It’s been negative for 40 years.”

Mayor of London Boris Johnson was in Gants Hill on Friday to help relaunch the area, before visiting Fairlop Waters Country Park and Redbridge Sports and Leisure Centre, both in Forest Road, Barkingside.

He said: “The improvements have been made to change the look and the feel of the area and create an atmosphere more in tune with a cafe culture.”