Shops in cen­tre want busi­ness rates re­duced

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

SMALL busi­nesses at Park Mall shop­ping cen­tre say the car park clo­sure is ru­in­ing them. But shop­ping cen­tre bosses say there are “no prob­lems with foot­fall”. Many shops which were lo­cated in Park Mall this time last year mi­grated to County Square shop­ping cen­tre when the ex­ten­sion opened at Easter. Park Mall bosses say eight out of 32 units are stand­ing empty. Indu Ku­mar, co-man­ager of the But­ter­flies clothes store, said: “We are only a lit­tle in­de­pen­dent store so I don’t know how we are go­ing to sur­vive. “Our sales are 80 per cent down since the car park shut. “We may have to think about not re­new­ing our lease in Fe­bru­ary.” Mar­git Rig­den, man­ager of the Mur­ray Nov­el­ties craft shop, called for a cut in busi­ness rates. She said: “Our trade has been cut in half. We have felt it since the car park closed.” Sharon Twyman, man­ager of the Health Mat­ters health food store, said: “Trade for us has dropped by 15 per cent. I think it has been a bit to do with the car park but also in gen­eral to do with the eco­nomic down­turn.”

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