There is a current campaign to save Scunthorpe’s shopping area, Keep Scunthorpe Alive is making some progress, but I do think that there needs to be a good hard look at what’s on offer to the public. Given that we have some very good retailers in the town Westgate (CO-OP), B.H.S. Primark, is always full judging by the men sat under the tree outside the shop waiting for the female shoppers to return.
But there are a growing number of empty units in the Parishes, Southgate Mall, and the Foundry has suffered badly with closures over the last few years. Leaving a rather poor selection of shops, not anyone fault just victims of circumstances of the current financial storm, and this shown no sign of abating for some time to come. But take away the mobile phone shops, we are not left with much else this is unfortunate, and needs to be addressed, the owners of the Foundry have to make money true, but they are not making much if the shops are empty.
We need to have bit of a rethink, and try and encourage local people to move in offering range new goods. For someone trading in a shop is better than none. Do we need to subsidise new shop owners until they become more established? For staring you own enterprise is a very daunting task. They may need some advice on how to display good and other retail matters. How about a help forum for new entrants into retailing. How about shop shearing, where more than one retailer occupiers part of the shop, as some of the units are rather large, lightweight movable partitions might be one of the answers?
And the vexing question of car parking charges, 1 hour free is better than none, how about two as promoted by Keep Scunthorpe Alive and local MP Nick Dakin. For no shops no car parking income, tough some say they are expensive, compared to some towns I have travel to not that bad, but also not that good.
But also noted a change in the type of shops that have opened in the last few years, not offering goods as such but what has now become known as pay day lenders, a growing sector in Britain, as the banks don’t want to lend cash to hard up folk, someone else is, at a price.
While not taking a view on this it again with some seven shops in the High Street now offering this kind of service, is choking off the retail shops, but then some people might need to visit before going shopping. This is the new wold taking shape, and the changing face of retailing and movement of money. I visit the town centre on a regular basis, but sometimes think it’s not just the experience I wanted, I can’t get something in town, and this is the problem.
I suspect that some out of town development might take place, unless the local council and the traders put up a good caste for moving into town. And the large open area around Church Squire, it has potential but needs some good imagination to make it work. Something a little different, something to make interesting to new to retailers.
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