Some independent traders in Southend town centre fear free parking at Fossetts Farm could be the final straw which drives their businesses under.Yes, and..?
Queens Road toy shop owner Alan Dadswell has warned Southend Council of the consequences of giving Fossetts Farm’s traders an unfair advantage over town centre businesses.
Mr Dadswell claims he was forced to close the Rayleigh branch of his Toys’n’Tuck business in 2012 because Rochford District Council allowed out-oftown-retailers with free car parking to set up in competition.
He said: “I’m not convinced Fossetts Farm will be a threat to us, until we see what anchor tenant they have for the retail units.”
“However, I have concerns over out-of-town retail, because I experienced it first-hand.
“The most successful council in destroying high streets is Rochford Council, which allowed out-of-town retailers, such as Asda, in Rayleigh.
“I don’t have a problem if it is an even playing field.
“Councils should be given the opportunity to charge for car parking in out-of-town retail parks.”So...potential customers should have to pay for parking just to drive them back into your arms?
People will go there if it’s free and town centre parking isn’t.
“Councils can’t have it both ways. They can’t have out-of-town retail and have their own car parks full in town centres.”Never mind what you want, or what councils want. What about what customers want?
John Ginsberg opened his cake decorating supplies store, Sugar and Co, in the Victoria Shopping Centre, earlier this year said: “Not a lot of retail space in Southend has free parking.
“If they had free parking at Fossetts Farm, it would have an impact. Lakeside has it and that attracts people there. The big thing which has an impact on us will be the parking situation there.”So why are you demanding that another competitor should be prevented from allowing free parking? Why not band together and demand that free parking be available for your customers?
However, some other traders believe the specialist nature of their businesses will mean they are not affected by Fossetts Farm, where large national chains would be expected to move into the retail units.
Richard Onslow, the owner of the South record shop, in Queens Road, said: “This is happening all the time with out-of-town parks being developed.
“There are various challenges for local shopkeepers to face, such as internet shopping, but you either adapt or die.
“Unless a record store opens there,Idon’t think I’ll be affected.”Quite! It's a shame I don't need a record, or I'd be only too happy to shop at Mr Onslow's establishment.
I'll be damned if I'll be buying any toys or cake decorations,m if that's the attitude of the other two to my potential custom...