Home » World News » Our bustling high street is now a ghost town after local businesses were turfed out for doomed £1.5m 'hipster paradise' | The Sun
Our bustling high street is now a ghost town after local businesses were turfed out for doomed £1.5m 'hipster paradise' | The Sun
PAID for with £1.5m of public money, it was supposed to create a ‘world-class fashion mecca’ that would rival upmarket Bicester Village in Oxfordshire.
But Hackney Walk in East London is now a ghost town marred by smashed windows and graffiti after – one-by-one – the posh stores that opened there shut down.
The Sun visited this week after the Nike Factory shop became the latest to close its doors, leaving just one badly vandalised Stone Island outlet remaining.
The result is a strip of 13 vacant shops under railway arches on Morning Lane where a number of car garages previously operated.
Shutter fitter Scott O’Reilly, 55, regularly passes Hackney Walk’s depressing yellow facade as he heads to the nearby Tesco.
He said: “It’s a white elephant. They opened all these stores thinking that Japanese tourists would come. They thought they would be raking it in, but from start to finish it’s been one poor decision after another.
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“The shops they brought in were just way too expensive for this area. They were selling Gieves & Hawkes suits for £600, but this is not a wealthy part of London and most people walk around in tracksuits and jeans.
“I’ve lived here all my life and before all this was built – we are talking about 10 years ago – this was a row of arches with garages.
“They got rid of all those businesses and spent over a million pounds refurbishing it, but this is Hackney, not Knightsbridge, you know.
“I hardly ever saw anyone in those stores and no-one I knew went… I popped into the Nike store a couple of times and the prices were OK, but it was all odd sizes, 13s and 3s, the stuff they couldn’t sell online.
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