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Mini business boom in Gravesend

PUBLISHED: 14:42 03 September 2010

Amber Whitaker-Fox and sister Tabitha

Amber Whitaker-Fox and sister Tabitha

Archant

A mini-boom has hit businesses in a town centre road after a narrow walkway was reopened after being closed for years.

Amber Whitaker-Fox, left, with sister Tabitha

Shopkeepers and cafe owners in Manor Road, Gravesend, have seen a big rise in trade after the two metre by 20 metre connection across the railway line came back into action a fortnight ago.

Mario Savva, who has been running SnackAttack café since May, said business has really taken off.

He said: “I’ve seen an increase – even it’s its only two or three customers a day. It’s going to take time but I think it’s going to make a big difference.

“Everyone was very pleased when it reopened, we all got excited and very optimistic about it. I was told by the previous owner that business went down when the alleyway was shut.”

The alleyway, which had been a popular shortcut into town from Parrock Street, was closed in 2006 when demolition work was started on the adjoining North Street multi-storey car park.

Now the parking site is clear and will reopen as a temporary commuters’ car park after developers Barratt Homes were forced to forfeit the land to Gravesham Borough Council for failing to complete a flat development on time.

Retailers claim the opening of the car park will boost trade even more. The road has seen a lot of shop closures and re-openings over the last few years, but with the alleyway open but a revival is expected.

Next door to the alleyway a small shop is re-opening as a record store and a one-time solicitors’ office is re-opening as offices for a consultancy.

One of the newly opened shops is Worth Remembering, a picture-to-canvas business in a one-time art gallery. It’s being run by sisters Amber and Tabitha .

Amber said: “Since the alleyway reopened we have seen more people coming through. We opened in mid-July and we have seen an increase, definitely.”

Her sister added: “When the commuter car park opens we’ll probably see more people coming through just to see what kind of shops there are here.”

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