Kir­riemuir shop­keep­ers’ Sun­day bid to beat park­ing blues.

Busi­nesses to open on Sun­days in bid to off­set de­cline in foot­fall af­ter coun­cil brings in park­ing fees

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - JANET THOM­SON jath­om­[email protected]­

Kir­riemuir busi­nesses have re­sorted to Sun­day open­ings in the run up to Christ­mas to stave off the de­cline in foot­fall they say is caused by An­gus Coun­cil’s park­ing charges.

Fol­low­ing a late-night shop­ping event which was well sup­ported, a num­ber of lo­cal shop­keep­ers will open on their days off to try to keep trade in the town.

Tina Wil­liamson, of El­e­men­tal in Cum­ber­land Close, said they had come to­gether on the back of the suc­cess of the Great Bri­tish High Street com­pe­ti­tion when the Lit­tle Red Town re­ceived a “highly com­mended” cer­tifi­cate.

She said: “Kir­riemuir is con­tin­u­ing to demon­strate the strength of its com­mu­nity and is re­spond­ing to the re­cent car park­ing charges in­flicted upon the town by An­gus Coun­cil by open­ing the town to Christ­mas shop­pers on a Sun­day.

“Sev­eral in­de­pen­dent re­tail­ers are join­ing the pubs, restau­rants, Co-ops and other ser­vices which al­ready open on Sun­days in the town cen­tre in an at­tempt to of­fer cus­tomers the op­tion of vis­it­ing shops on a day when

“This is death by a thou­sand cuts – peo­ple re­ally re­sent the park­ing charges which fol­low an in­crease in coun­cil tax and the green bin charges

they will not be charged to park their car.

“They can take their time to browse the shops and en­joy re­fresh­ments with­out park­ing time lim­its dic­tat­ing when they have to re­turn to the car parks.”

A num­ber of shops will open from noon to 4pm, start­ing on Sun­day, while oth­ers are look­ing at chang­ing their hours to try to bring cash to their tills.

Tina added: “It is an­tic­i­pated most of the town will of­fer Sun­day shop­ping for De­cem­ber 16 and 23 – a clear mes­sage to all (that) Kir­riemuir re­mains very def­i­nitely ‘open for busi­ness’.”

Gor­don Ewan of The Jeweller’s Work­shop is an­other busi­ness open­ing on Sun­days prior to Christ­mas.

He joined the call for An­gus Coun­cil to cover up the park­ing me­ters in the run-up to Christ­mas af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a marked drop in foot­fall of 20-30%.

He warned: “That is pretty ma­jor for me, I try to be op­ti­mistic but this is grim.

“I feel a lot of peo­ple will eval­u­ate if it is worth stay­ing open. Some busi­nesses are re­port­ing be­ing down at least 50%.

“Park­ing charges, the un­cer­tainty of Brexit and stag­nant wage growth could put a lot of folk un­der.”

Gor­don, who opened his busi­ness in 2006, warned that cus­tomers may get used to driv­ing out of town to shop.

He con­tin­ued: “A lot of peo­ple have to drive to Kir­riemuir to shop but they may con­tinue on to Tesco in For­far, or Dundee, where there is free park­ing.

“This is death by a thou­sand cuts – peo­ple re­ally re­sent the park­ing charges which fol­low an in­crease in coun­cil tax and the green bin charges.

“I imag­ine, in a few years, there will be hardly any shops in Kir­riemuir.”

Pic­ture: Gareth Jen­nings.

Gor­don Ewan of The Jeweller’s Work­shop is open for busi­ness in Kir­rie.

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