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Help us beat the crunch

PUBLISHED: 15:03 25 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:34 23 August 2010

PLEA: Michael Savell, 59, owner of P 4 Parties wants more support from the council.

PLEA: Michael Savell, 59, owner of P 4 Parties wants more support from the council.

A HIGH Street trader is urging the council to do more to help businesses survive the credit crunch by attracting more shoppers into the town. Michael Savell, 59, owner of P 4 Parties, in High Street, Gravesend, contacted the news teams after we highlight

A HIGH Street trader is urging the council to do more to help businesses survive the credit crunch by attracting more shoppers into the town.

Michael Savell, 59, owner of P 4 Parties, in High Street, Gravesend, contacted the news teams after we highlighted the number of empty shops in the Heritage Quarter.

He says that while the shop is making money in spite of the recession, a lack of footfall is affecting businesses in the area.

This month the Reporter revealed that more than 40 business premises were vacant in the town, with 14 empty in the flagship Heritage Quarter.

He said: "We've got a lot to offer down here. We've been here for five years. There are businesses down here that are doing well even at this time and managing to survive, but it'd be a lot easier if the council supported us.

"I know they've got a difficult job and they've got all the town to look after but this town is not just about New Road.

"It's almost as if there's an invisible line which runs straight across from its entrance to the market. We do feel like a poor relation sometimes."

Mr Savell says he and other business owners have approached the council about erecting signs listing Heritage Quarter shops at the top of the High Street and in town centre car parks to draw more customers in. He claims the council refused citing planning regulations and the fact that the shops frequently change hands.

There are also concerns about the position of the farmers' market.

When it was launched in January last year stalls were set up in the pedestrian areas of Windmill Street and the High Street but construction work being carried out on the town hall has led to its relocation to New Road.

Mr Savell added: "They don't want to be down here but the whole point of it being in the High Street was to bring people down here.

"From the time the farmer's market came here they have always wanted to be at the top of the road. If the whole market was down here it would be a different story."

Gravesham Borough Council says it organises regular meetings with traders and is always willing to listen to their point of view.

A spokesperson said: "We have done a lot in the High Street over the last few years and have several things planned for 2009.

"We supported the High Street Festival last year and will be doing the same again this year.

"We know times are hard and we are doing all we can to generate trade for the town's businesses."

jason.goodyer@archant.co.uk

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