Sefton on the down ward slide?
LORD Street was once described in Southport's Tourist
guides, not so long back, as the "The Jewel in the Crown"
of the North West and a "Shoppers Paradise",
but how things have changed. We are not even into 2014 properly
and already we are seeing more doom and gloom hitting North
Merseyside. It and the rest of the Southport Town Centre was
renowned for its
high quality shopping, restaurants and bars, all with a unique
feel and look, but many feel that is about to change.
Formby Village Centre was also a Mecca for shoppers with more
exotic tastes. Sadly things have been changing very rapidly over
the last few years. Many small businesses where pushed out by
large firms, irresponsibly cluster bombing, massive rent rises
and a tidal wave of changes in laws. That added to the slow
nature with which many of the old businesses to react to the
internet started the rot. Then came the Credit crunch and the
surge in bad banking practices came to light, all this adding
strain to our Town and City centres, throughout the UK and even
in many respects the world. This added pressure not only started
to impact on small businesses, but also on many of the larger
businesses, who failed to take into account things like the
internet, or who over expanded when faced by cluster bombing
began to fail. Well I did not intend to give a history lesson.
The problem now facing the remaining small independent shops,
restaurants and offices is partly down to attitudes of the
public. Many of the businesses are failing due to a lack of
support from the local community, is seen as one of the major
factors, along with a sharp rise in charity shops and businesses
using charity status.
"We have nothing against charity, but many of the major
charities are running shops as businesses, but without the
overheads real businesses have. I went in to one well know
charity and offered some stuff I wanted to donate, only to be
told that they only take brand new items from suppliers. Is that
not what real shops do? They do not have to pay wages to staff,
plus they often get reduced rent and.... No wonder why we are
closing. Also multi nationals are buying goods far cheaper and
using them as give-a-ways. People need to remember that they
need to support local shops, or risk seeing high streets turning
out all the same and with a limited range of choice. We will see
shops turning very soon into web warehouses, run by major
businesses. If this happens tourism will be hit. Who wants to go
to a village or a town when it looks like a clone of other
cities or villages, or towns..? Worryingly, in Southport
charities are now running food and drink venues, so even one of
the remaining features might be lost forever, the classic tea or
coffee shop." Said one very fired up local shop keeper,
who is worried that as he was complaining about charity shops,
people might get the wrong idea, hence we have not put his name
A restaurant locally also said:- "People think we are
loaded as we have a business, yet we are struggling to keep the
lights on. The attitude of many locals in Formby and Southport
is appalling. They complain of businesses closing, but willing
to go to a major multinational to get served. Often these people
never support those who are trying to support the local
community and are local. Liverpool has got its head on, but
sadly Sefton don't and is still stuck in the dark ages. What
happens when they have milked Southport and Formby dry? Do they
So what are your views for the High Street of the Future, will
Lord Street lose all its specialist shops? Will it turn into
major brands only on our high streets? Is Sefton to blame and,
or the people in North Merseyside for the ill feeling many
businesses owners are now feeling? Most importantly, what do you
think can be done and will you shop more locally, despite the
costs possibly being higher in order to save our Villages and
Let us know your views on this issue by emailing our newsroom
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