HUDDERSFIELD charity shop managers today defended their trade after a TV star called for restrictions.
The Government has asked retail expert Mary Portas – famous for her BBC show Mary, Queen of Shops – to come up with a plan to revive high streets.
But the TV star has caused controversy by calling for a cap on the number of charity shops.
Her remarks came as new figures showed there are nearly 50 charity shops in the Huddersfield area.
The presenter was also behind Mary, Queen of Charity Shops, which was a three-part series screened in 2008.
She worked with charity shops in order to transform them into must-stop-shops on the high street.
But her new study as called for a limit on the number in our towns – a move which has prompted concern in Huddersfield.
Janet Ryan, manager of Cancer Research on Ramsden Street, disagreed with Mrs Portas.
“I think there are too many pound shops rather than charity shops,” she said yesterday.
“I think we make a contribution to Huddersfield. Mary Portas needs to go into charity shops.
“She’s probably only been in the worst of them. There are some beautiful shops selling some beautiful clothes.”
Cancer Research has 600 shops across the country, which raised £65m of the £433m collected by the charity in 2010/11.
Lee Craggs, who manages Oxfam on Colne Road, agreed.
He said: “It’s up to shops to create a market that people want. We put out good quality clothing at a good price which the customer is happy to pay.”
But Mr Craggs added that the town centre does need to change.
“I don’t think there are too many charity shops in Huddersfield,” he said.
“I would like to see more shops that aren’t chain stores. I would like to see smaller independent shops.
“I think Huddersfield town centre is big enough to be able to have shops suited to everyone’s taste.”
Forget Me Not Trust retail manager Mick Prescott also disagreed with Mrs Portas.
“Charities are still out there opening new shops. If anything, we are revitalising the high street,” he said.
“They need to find some way of encouraging mainstream retailers, whether through cheaper rates or rent, but I don’t see what good putting a cap on charity shops would do.”
Susan Marsden is retail co-ordinator for Kirkwood Hospice, which has 16 shops in Kirklees.
She said: “Successful high streets need to offer a range of shopping.
“We think our shops have brought some diversity to the shopping experience.”
Mrs Portas made her comments to MPs on the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Town Centres..
The TV star called for a cap on charity shops in certain high streets.
She also suggested offering new companies the same 80% discount on business rates which charities enjoy.
Mrs Portas is due to publish her full report next month.