Time for truth not spin over state of Shrewsbury shops economy
With regard to the departure of the House of Fraser in Shrewsbury, this being the latest closure in Shrewsbury town centre.
This is catastrophic for the retail economy in Shrewsbury.
However, I read with a significant degree of incredulity, in the Star, October 1, the reaction of Councillor Nic Laurens, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for economic growth, when he said: “While many other high streets are in decline, we’re pleased that the town is bucking this trend and experiencing growth.”
By what measure are you making such a claim Cllr Laurens? Are my eyes deceiving me? A very brief assessment, by simply walking around the town centre of Shrewsbury, would quickly answer this question for him.
The town centre of Shrewsbury is in decline. Serious decline.
- Shrewsbury Pride Hill works to miss deadline
- Council-owned Shrewsbury shopping centres sees footfall drop
- Business leaders look to future of Shrewbury as House of Fraser prepares to close doors
Buying habits are changing and the Government’s tax policies are at least a decade behind the curve, with internet businesses paying a fraction of the tax now burdening the high street retailer.
However, the policies of our local and central government are adding to the chaos and decline.
Unsustainable Business Rates hikes (much of this being imposed on small independent businesses), Shrewsbury’s main pedestrian thoroughfare (Pride Hill) being dug up for most of the summer, vacant shops with ‘To Let’ or ‘For Sale’ signs in proliferation, quality shops being replaced by short-term tenants, high numbers of restaurants for sale and aggressive parking policies all add up to the storm which has yet to hit Shrewsbury’s town centre business community.
My own experience of operating a Shrewsbury town centre business is that Shropshire Council is unwilling or unable to assist enterprise and job creation.
It is working against us.
It’s the time for a frank and truthful assessment and not spin.
Mike Avery, Minsterley
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