Festive fall-out as row erupts in Leighton
A war of words has erupted after Leighton’s council leader accused I Love LB traders of “not being bothered to open” on the Sundays leading up to Christmas.
After Leighton-Linslade Town Council invested in the shopping festival weekend and lights switch-on, a Sunday market, plus free bus travel, angry Councillor David Bowater claims many shopkeepers didn’t keep up their end of the bargain by opening their doors for an extra day’s trading.
The argument comes after the traders’ self-run ‘Winter Sundays’ initiative was launched on the weekend of the Christmas Festival to give shoppers more opportunities to visit the High Street.
However, as any lingering Christmas spirit well and truly evaporates, Councillor Bowater has fiercely criticised the lack of support from businesses associated to I Love LB, who he said did not open on Sundays throughout December to support the few that did.
He told the LBO: “The I Love LB group were demanding the town council did more to help support the footfall of the town, and we certainly did.
“The council funded the entire lights switch-on and shopping weekend.
“But one Sunday when I went into town there was not one single I love LB shop open.
“And they say we don’t support them. These guys can’t be bothered to open.”
“The council will do their best, as always, to make the town attractive to shoppers over the Christmas period.
“It is up to shopkeepers to make an effort and open like Jane at Amethyst. I think they have got to open.
“This town is so lucky in the shops it has got, it deserves support. They’ve got my business and I do my best to help.”
In response to Councillor Bowater’s comments, chairman of I Love LB, Gennaro Borelli, said: “He is the leader of the town council and if he is making a statement like that, he needs to back that up.
“We have had the highest number of shops that have ever opened this December.
“There was a concerted effort by members of I Love LB, so if they heard his thoughts they would not be very happy.
“It is easy to say the shops didn’t open because the town council had the market, but on the other hand they can turn round and say there were only three or four market stalls open.
“A lot of my customers said the market was pitiful.
“I would rather create facts than come out and make generalised comments like he has done. Did he actually bother to count up how many shops did actually open?”
> To read more on the war of words between Mr Bowater and Mr Borelli, as well as finding out how the other traders felt the Sunday opening went, pick up a January 8 copy of the LBO.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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