Fight against retail park keeps going
Hockliffe Street traders have decided to go one step further to save Leighton’s independent shops, following the debate over whether Sunday opening in the run up to Christmas was worthwhile
TK Furniture and CeeJays have decided to open on Sundays from 11am to 4pm to rival the larger shops in the High Street.
Owner of the family furniture business and passionate campaigner against plans to build out-of-town retail parks, Tom Shattock, believes shops like his are the ‘heart and soul of the community.’
He said: “We don’t complain about people going out of town at weekends, but we are prepared to open ourselves as a positive step towards boosting the local economy.
“We can be our own retail park – open on Sundays with easy parking.
“We opened on Sundays throughout December, but that’s not enough. We have to offer people the choice to shop here at weekends. We want to go one step further.”
Tom’s plight to encourage people back into the town was inspired by the latest events that he believes is highlighting the impact of an out-of-town retail park and what needs to be done to stop it.
He said: “We are a declining market. The average amount being spent on furniture and flooring has declined by 12 per cent in the last three years.
“They want to build a retail park, which will double the size of retail space in the high street out of town at a time of recession and during the growth of the internet. We do want development in the town, but this argument has been going on for years.
“The Leighton Buzzard Observer has been drawing attention to shops opening on Sundays and reported on a story about Councillor David Bowater who was very quick to criticise the shops.
“It is a one way street really.
“We are trying to do our part so people can use the High Street as a retail park on a Sunday, with no charges of parking to encourage everyone who normally goes out of the town, to stay here.
“It may generate some comments and hopefully highlight the retail park and what it will do to the town.
“The businesses are the heart and soul of the community, but we have a situation where they are not contributing to issues that will affect the town for years to come.
“This is not the end of the story.”
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Weather for Leighton Buzzard
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 6 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North west