Independents are 'golden geese' of town economy

Independent traders have been hailed as the "golden geese" of attracting visitors to a town.

Stacey Hill, from Oberon in Wyle Cop
Stacey Hill, from Oberon in Wyle Cop

And shop owner Stacey Hill has insisted they must be given the platform to continue to shine as a new vision for the future of Shrewsbury is planned out.

Yesterday marked the launch of the Shrewsbury Big Town Festival, a series of online talks to discuss ambitious plans to redevelop parts of the town.

A masterplan document was released this month to explore ideas including creating a new northern entrance to the railway station, a riverside walkway and park by re-routing traffic away from Smithfield Road, and revitalising the Abbey Foregate viaduct to provide space for businesses and community events.

During the festival launch discussion titled Step Into The Spotlight, several speakers waxed lyrical over the town's positive attributes, including Stacey, who owns fashion store Oberon, on Wyle Cop.

She said: "The collection of independent businesses has blossomed. We have the longest row of independent shops in the country (Wyle Cop). We've a beautiful cinema at the Old Market Hall and the Made in Shropshire outdoor market. There is a creative buzz that is so strong. We need to be shouting from the rooftops the reasons why we love Shrewsbury.

"Going forward, councillors need to realise that the independent retailers are the golden geese of bringing retail to the town." She insisted that should be considered when deciding on business rates, parking, transport and infrastructure, and future plans should be aimed at helping them thrive."

Shrewsbury Bid executive director Seb Slater said: "We've got to get our voices heard above the noise nationally and internationally."

Today there will be another talk which will take a more in-depth look at the masterplan vision. To listen in, visit festival.shrewsburybigtownplan.org

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