But there’s one place where all the shops are full

Date: Friday 15th February 2019

MOVES are under way for businesses in Kirkby Stephen to fly a unique flag in celebration of the fact there are no empty shops in the town.

A mock-up of the flag, which features the town’s Cloisters as part of its design, was shown to town councillors and received a favourable reception.

Two Kirkby Stephen business owners — Linnhe Harrison, of the town’s Mini Eden pre-loved children’s store, and Olivia Williams, of OnlyWillow jewellery and gifts — are heading the project.

Town councillor Alex Birtles said: “I think it is a nice idea. It marks the town out in a particular way and gives it a unique town symbol.”

He said it was now unusual for a market town not to have some empty premises and this was something which the two business women quite rightly thought was cause for celebration.

“This is an unusual state of affairs and we should have some means of marking Kirkby Stephen out from the crowd,” said Mr Birtles.

Businesses are to be approached to see if they would consider flying one of the flags at certain times of the year, including over the Cumbria Easter rally weekend and at other holiday periods.

The idea was said to have been taken from the Westmorland Dales day event where premises flew the Westmorland flag.

Town council chairman Joan Johnstone said Kirkby Stephen did look good when the Westmorland flags were up. The possibility of the town council helping to subsidise the cost of buying the flags, in addition to a contribution from the businesses, is to be explored.

“I think it is a super idea and the town council fully endorses it,” said Mrs Johnstone.

County councillor Phil Dew (Con, Kirkby Stephen) said: “I fly a Westmorland flag, but would be much happier to fly a Kirkby Stephen flag.”

He said he was sure there would be other people in the town who would feel the same and asked that some of the flags be made available for residents as well.