PUBLISHED: 14:11 06 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:45 10 June 2010
MONDAY, OCTOBER 6: A FORUM to bring businesses back to Exmouth and fill the town centre's empty shops could be formed. Lib Dem town councillor Steve Gazzard received the backing of fellow members of the planning committee on Monday, to form a new group, after listing 30 va
A FORUM to bring businesses back to Exmouth and fill the town centre's empty shops could be formed.Lib Dem town councillor Steve Gazzard received the backing of fellow members of the planning committee on Monday, to form a new group, after listing 30 vacant shops in the town centre.He said: "Like most councillors, I have noticed the number of shops we are losing."Every week there seems to be yet another empty shop in the town centre, and I'm not taking into account Littleham and Brixington."I am concerned these shops are shutting their doors and not being replaced, and if they are, they are the wrong kinds of shops."I feel we are reaching a saturation point and have enough hairdressers, charity shops, cafes, fast food outlets - we need proper shops."He said there did not seem to be a co-ordinated strategy on how to tackle this problem: "I recommend the setting up of a small working party with the town manager. We must do everything we can to promote shops in Exmouth."He was backed by his colleagues and Conservative Councillor Richard Turner said: "I think there is more than one problem - the effect the internet has on shopping is a major concern."I think it affects every business and we will have a hell of a job finding the right balance between what shops we want and which ones we don't."I support it, but it will be a very difficult exercise." Deputy Mayor Councillor Darryl Nicholas said: "There is a proliferation of charity shops and takeaways - but Exmouth isn't alone, it's the same throughout the country."We must ensure Exmouth has a good business environment so niche shops that sell things that people want to buy can survive."I do not see a problem of setting up a sub committee."Chairman of the finance committee, Councillor Sandy Sutton said: "Just because empty shops have always been used as shops doesn't mean they always have to be - they could be used for something else."Shops close because they don't sell what people want.