MORE needs to be done to help trade – those are the words of a group of retailers in Worthing after several independent shops closed in January.
Traders in the West End of Worthing, which runs from The Body Shop, in Montague Street, through to Rowlands Road, have spoken of their fears after five shops in the area closed during January.
Diane Ball, chairman of the West End Traders’ Association, said the area had, at first, been less affected by the recession.
But the closures in January of shops including Poppyfields, Akermans, Quail’s Dentistry and Taboo reinforced the message that no shop in Worthing is recession-proof.
And as the recession threatens to claim more businesses, Diane said she felt the West End needed further support from the county and borough councils, and needed to be more united.
She said: “It’s no good shops here saying they feel ostracised when they won’t work together.
“We can work together.
“When we did it with the police at the Neighbourhood Panel Meeting, in December, it worked. It proves we can work together to make things better.”
Traders who spoke to the Herald all agreed the cost of parking was harming business and called on the county council to introduce free parking as a six-month experiment to see what kind of difference it would make.
Roger Green, owner of Roger Green’s Sound and Vision, which has been based in Rowlands Road for around 30 years, said: “I had one customer from Rustington who was thinking about buying a £400 TV.
“He realised he didn’t have enough time left on his parking and had to leave. I’ve never seen him since, and that’s not the first time it’s happened.”
In a time where chain shops rule the high street, Cathy Cobbold, from the Action for Deafness shop, said the independent shops of the West End still had much to offer.
“The shops here are specialist and incredibly exciting,” she said.
“We’ve got food shops, we’ve got records, we’ve got the artists, the charity shops. It’s like a little village.
“People come here knowing they’re dealing with specialists who really understand what they’re selling.”