Leighton’s shopkeepers hit back
Traders have hit back after a councillor challenged shops to ‘up their game’ following the approval of Leighton’s first retail park.
In last week’s LBO, Councillor Alan Shadbolt, who was chairman of the Central Beds Council committee that made the retail park decisions, said shopkeepers felt threatened by the new development and should improve their own offer to residents.
But Helen Nottingham, owner of Buzzard Sports of North Street, said: “I think it was a shame that he came across as contentious as he did. Small-shop owners work very hard and if it all goes pear-shaped for us then it’s not just a case of the business closes, we are left in serious debt.”
Colin Ashby, who is known for his outspoken voice in the fight against out-of-town development, criticised the councillors’ actions during the meeting.
He said: “Councillor Shadbolt has a point that some retailers need to up their game.
“Equally it could be applied to him to up his game – 470 people wrote in to Central Bedfordshire to make their point. 13 were for the retail parks the rest were not.
“And the overwhelming majority at the Community Forum meeting which he attended were against the retail park.
“He thought the first retail park would not do any harm and stated that from the start of the discussion, though he did say that councillors should make up their own minds.
“He was the only one of all the Leighton Linslade councillors who spoke to actually go for the retail park.
“All the others along with the Mayor spoke against the retail parks. You would expect the other councillors to take note. They did not.”
Ian Dillamore, owner of Dillamore’s Furnishers, said: “I think Councillor Shadbolt’s approach and the way he dealt with it was wrong. But yes, we will have to up our game.
“The town council will need to put more money into the High Street to improve it to make it a more attractive destination for people to go to, rather than go to the new retail park.”
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Weather for Leighton Buzzard
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 8 C
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Wind direction: North west
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