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Focus on High Street'

PUBLISHED: 18:07 14 April 2010 | UPDATED: 11:38 23 August 2010

'REAL CYNIC': Michhael Savell.

'REAL CYNIC': Michhael Savell.

Times reporter Nick Hitchens asked traders for their views on the controversial Heritage Quarter proposals Michael Savell, 60, from Welling, owner of P 4 Parties: I m a real cynic about it all. They re not interested in incorporating the High Street. T

Times reporter Nick Hitchens asked traders for their views on the controversial Heritage Quarter proposals

Michael Savell, 60, from Welling, owner of P 4 Parties:

"I'm a real cynic about it all. They're not interested in incorporating the High Street. The river will be lost to the town and we'll be left with a concrete canyon running along it. They'll extend St George's Shopping Centre and the rest of the plans won't happen.

"People will walk down New Road to the other and back again. They will not come down the High Street because there's nothing down here to entice them.

"The council has two choices: Either turn the High Street into flats, or have to make it the focal point of the town."

Alex Stuckey, 36, from Meopham, owner of Flower Heaven:

"I don't understand why Edinburgh House wants to put in more retail space when there are 30 or so perfectly good units going unused in this street.

"My main concern is that this end of town will suffer from the works and plants traffic rumbling back and forth.

"I would also like to know what the council plans to do with the loss of car parking spaces that the refurbishment will cause."

John Armstrong, 60, from Istead Rise, runs the fruit and veg stall in Borough Market:

"My main concern is the car parks being taken away. If they close the car parks down this way, people won't be coming through the High Street at all.

"We're struggling enough with high rates and rent as it is. With Bluewater so close, I can't see any of the big companies wanting to come to Gravesend.

"The companies currently in New Road, like M&S, will move into the new units then New Road will be left empty. The town needs refurbishing, but only if they can get the small shops buzzing again."

Bob Atkinson, owner of Stamps and Hobbies:

"If the plans go ahead, they need to incorporate the High Street and get people walking through here again.

"The main problem with Gravesend is it doesn't know where its centre is. In all the time I've been here, it has shifted dramatically from east to west. People walk along King Street and New Road and completely bypass us.

"We have to be part of their plans because at the moment people stand at the top of the High Street and see boarded-up units which deters them.

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