Town shops face many threats

PUBLISHED: 02:01 23 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:10 10 June 2010

It was a great sight to see the mass of supportive letters in last week's Journal, for Bentley's Garage, in their fight against the destruction of Chapel Hill, by the local council. It would seem that concreting over everything has been with us for a whil

It was a great sight to see the mass of supportive letters in last week's Journal, for Bentley's Garage, in their fight against the destruction of Chapel Hill, by the local council. It would seem that concreting over everything has been with us for a while. Not happy with the initial destruction of Exmouth's charm and character, by building the Magnolia Centre, the lovely old railway station was destroyed and replaced it with a glorified "windswept bus shelter", then Manchester Street, Tower Street and the supposed "cafe quarter", yet more examples of the continuing quest to remove the motor vehicle from the streets of Exmouth. Yet through all this "rash of improvements" did they provide any more town centre parking? Did they increase time limits so shoppers could actually do more than rush in and buy a paper? Did they reduce business rates to town centre shops, as they allowed trade to haemorrhage away to Exeter, or because they allowed charity shops into the town at subsidised rates? No, they didn't. The Exmouth traders, got the same level of help and assistance from the council, that we have come to expect. More bureaucracy, less substance.Now we have the Asda debate, or "done deal" as the case may be, I will admit, I actually like Asda, their selection of products is good, their prices are good and their staff always seem that much happier and helpful than those working for other supermarkets. My main question would be, from what source is the council getting the funding and the inspiration, for its further proposed pedestrianisation of the town? Is any of it coming from Asda? If so, surely, the fewer people able to drive into town and shop, will equate to more people shopping at Asda, also the removal of the only town centre petrol retailer, can only increase the number of customers flowing on to Asda's forecourt. Perhaps I am just far too cynical. One other thing I have noticed in the recent furore over Asda and the future of the town, is why has no-one brought up the proliferation of retailers, springing up at Liverton Copse? These surely pose as equal a threat to the livelihoods of town businesses as Asda, yet no one emits a murmur? How long will it take for the shops in town to feel the pinch from this growing development I wonder and how large will it be allowed to grow?Ian Woolger,16 Otter Court,Budleigh Salterton.

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