‘Independents are the lifeblood of Leighton town centre’

Mayor Ray Berry with Ian Cording and Charlie Smith of the FSB say Keep Trade Local with Patricia Mellett Brown, of Making the Best Gift Shop
Mayor Ray Berry with Ian Cording and Charlie Smith of the FSB say Keep Trade Local with Patricia Mellett Brown, of Making the Best Gift Shop
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A tour of Leighton Buzzard’s Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) members by Mayor of Leighton Linslade, Cllr Ray Berry and FSB Bedfordshire branch chair, Ian Cording, took place to celebrate the pivotal role that small, retail businesses play in the economic success of the town.

The mayor and Mr Cording visited five town centre businesses and talked to them about their ideas about how to keep Leighton Buzzard as a unique and interesting retail destination.

Mr Cording said: “Independent businesses are the life blood of Leighton Buzzard which makes it a really special place. It was great that the mayor met our members and to know that the town council works in partnership with the businesses to find exciting ways of drawing customers to the centre.

“Residents themselves are very supportive of local businesses as they know they will find something interesting and different and will receive great service from their town centre shops .

“However, we also need local authorities to look at issues such as business rates and parking charges if they want their town centres to prosper. They must ensure that consumers are not driven to use out of town retail parks because town centres become difficult to access.”

Patricia Mellett Brown , proprietor of Making the Best Gift Shop, said: “It was great to meet Ian and Cllr Berry. We were able to talk to them about them about our business: the triumphs and challenges and what help we could do with to ensure that we are able to continue to add to the economic and social life of our town.”

Cllr Berry said “ I really appreciated the opportunity that the FSB gave me to meet their members and find out about the how the FSB helps small businesses who in turn help our local economy to grow and prosper.”

The businesses visited by the mayor and Mr Cording were, Room No 9 restaurant, Kingfisher Carpets, Making the Best Gift Shop, Fogerty Formal Hire and Diverse Print.