The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

Discussion Group

Debate 11A What actions (max 6) could be taken to help our High Street ( business premises in Station Road) recover?

Please let me have your answers by Friday following which I will add them to my website and circulate summaries of your feedback next Wednesday.

Comments/Views

1. Cut business rates and try to encourage people to shop locally

2. Implement a new charging system for business rates, based on annual turnover and profit, not the annual market rent for the premises.

Cap the rent that greedy landlords can charge retailers.

3. The high street’s recovery could be helped by:

improving the environment,

such as closing down shops that are rarely used, and

allowing more useful premises to open, e.g., Wetherspoons, or similar facility

4. Lower business rates so shop owners can build up their business.

Have a good supermarket at the lower end of the town I.e. opposite Bradbeers. M&S would have brought people into New Milton. Instead we got a second hand furniture shop!

Trees down the Bradbeers side of the town. The other side of the road is so much more attractive.

Ask people what sort of shops are needed to add variety and so attract shoppers.

Cafes are fine but there are so many as there are hairdressers.

5. New Milton's High Street is very mundane& unattractive, has a miserably small market and has been losing retail shops for years.

It competes with Christchurch and Lymington both of which have larger markets and Waitrose and M & S Food stores.

Out of town grocery shopping has grown with Lidl allowed to expand and there is the threat of an Aldi Store out of town.

All eyes are on Bradbeers on which the High Street is so dependant. They are a traditional departmental store with no Sunday or late-night opening. They do not sell online but do/did have medium-term plans to develop the old Co-op site.

We need short-term activitiy and improvement. There is guidance on the internet and we can look at what other towns are planning/have planned and introduced.

On the face of it all New Milton can do is for all businesses to use the time locked down to plan, collaborate, perhaps spuce things up, have a grand-reopening, mount an advertising splurge and hold regular events throughout the year.

Individual retail shops should be able to get expert advice. The increasing services sector in the town should maintain some footfall.

6-7. Reduce business rates and free parking

8. I fear with the current and impending personal and national economic debt, hardship and deflation just round the corner, the existing shops are going to struggle to survive.

We must all support them as much as we can.

Internet shopping has increased, home cooking/baking and entertainment could become the new norm.

We’ve all proved we don’t need new clothes/

It will take a brave investor to open a new retail shop.

9. Continue to support your local shop

Need more diversity so no need to shop elsewhere

Reduce rents, better to have reduced income / taxes and more renting than no income.

Abandon car - walk bike to local shops and go more often.

Review of Week

I haven't seen any eveidence of actions to make our High Street better.

On Thursday we saw the Manager of Bradbeers cycling home from work. So they are doing something.

Many shops will have closed for 3/4 months and I guess that they will reopen and see what happens.

There are representative groups like the Town Council but I have not seen anything in the paper that they are planning anything.

One sign of enterprise and good management is the Beachcomber cafe in Barton in taking the opportunity for a thorough Spring clean during the lockdown.

Colin Bower
23 May 2020

Link to Debates Index:

Debates Index

 
Made with CityDesk