Seven Kings businesses banking on Christmas celebrations to pull in the shoppers

Seven Kings businesses are planning a multi-faiths Christmas celebration and hope to get star backing to encourage more consumer spending.

The resurrected Seven Kings Business Partnership, which lay dormant for a year, had its first meeting at The Joker pub in Cameron Road, Seven Kings, on Thursday.

On the agenda for chairman Satdev Kumar, part owner of Hansons Estates in Cameron Road, fellow business people and Beverley Stratton, Redbridge Council’s town centres and business improvement district manager, was attracting shoppers at Christmas.

The council may replace Seven King’s annual Christmas tree with a multi-faith decoration, according to Mr Kumar.

He said: “We’ve discussed what entertainment, maybe some kind of local star to put the lights on.

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“We’ll be looking to anyone who represented Team GB in the Olympics and maybe get someone from there.”

He pointed to the area’s Christmas event in 2010, which involved the Kenneth More Theatre, as an example of what could be done.

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Cllr Balvinder Saund told the meeting: “Our aim is to see a thriving business community.

“I’m glad you’ve resurrected this partnership.”

Mr Kumar said support for the previous incarnation of the partnership had become limited, but said it now had a strategy and is printing 12,500 leaflets to promote shopping in Seven Kings.

He said the council has provided funding towards the leaflets and developing a website.

He added: “We’re trying to get an amount from members and get match funding [from the council].”

Litter, rat infestations and parking in Cameron Road, High Road and other parts of Seven Kings were obstacles to trade discussed by the group, which also plans to include Goodmayes businesses.

Sadiq Kothia, who runs Taqwa Carpets in High Road, said: “Parking is a big problem. Customers come into the shop, spend their money and go outside and get a yellow ticket. They’re not going to come back.”

A Redbridge Council spokesman said: “We have worked to accommodate short-term visitors with pay and display parking bays in both Cameron Road and the High Road.”

He said the council has also introduced 15-minute tariffs.

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