We have to use in­de­pen­dents or we’ll lose them

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Letters And Opinion -

The glue of our com­mu­ni­ties still re­main, more of­ten that not, our town and city cen­tres; the tra­di­tional hub of our shop­ping and so­cial­is­ing habits. While this has changed so dra­mat­i­cally due to outof-town de­vel­op­ments and the ex­plo­sion of on­line re­tail­ing, if the blend of at­trac­tions is right, it re­mains our col­lec­tive hon­ey­pot.

And so of­ten key to that mix is the in­de­pen­dent re­tailer – the one-of-a-kind which is so much eas­ier to form an emo­tional at­tach­ment to – which makes the dif­fer­ence. Whit­stable is de­fined by it and Can­ter­bury re­lies on it to en­rich its main drag of big-name high street chains.

Yet while chains have a strength in num­bers, the one-offs need to main­tain in­come lev­els to flour­ish. And Can­ter­bury, for ex­am­ple, is not a place for the faint-hearted. It may de­liver enor­mous foot­fall but the cost of be­ing able to cap­i­talise on that does mean high rents and rates.

Our streets would be a far less ap­petis­ing propo­si­tion to both those of us who live and work here and who visit if in­de­pen­dents were to floun­der.

Yet to keep them alive we must use them and use them reg­u­larly. Be­cause we’ll miss them once they’re gone.

‘Yet while chains have a strength in num­bers, the one­offs need to main­tain in­come lev­els to flour­ish

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