THE revival of a Christchurch seaside village has been backed by Queen of Shops, Mary Portas.

New signs have been unveiled in Highcliffe to symbolise its ongoing revitalisation.

The Highcliffe Centre Partnership is also attemp- ting to dispel the myth of Highcliffe being the ‘town that time forgot’, feeling the village is often judged on the large number of elderly people who live there.

The group was formed to look at ways of encouraging more people to shop in Highcliffe, with regular litter picking and weeding undertaken as well as fresh plants and painting and decorating.

And members have also attracted support from retail consultant, Mary Portas, who is delighted that they are intent on making things happen.

She said: “It is important to maintain a vibrant high street as the benefits of this are seen in many layers, from the residents who live in the area, to the tourists who come to the area, to the increase in revenue enjoyed by the business owners.”

Events including a Highcliffe Revival Food Festival have been organised to boost the campaign.

The food festival is in association with Christchurch Food and Wine Festival and will take place on Saturday, May 16, after the Christchurch event.

Malcolm Mawbey from the Highcliffe Centre Partnership said: “Since we started the Partnership we have seen a groundswell of interest from people willing to lend their help and expertise in making our campaign a success. If any other residents want to get involved we’d love to hear from them.”

Mayor of Christchurch, Cllr Denise Jones, said: “I congratulate everyone from different sectors in Highcliffe who have got together to make something happen.

“Instead of sitting back and saying ‘do something for us’ they are working with part-ners to achieve something together.”

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