Traders in Accrington opposed to bus station move
12:00pm Sunday 10th March 2013 in North West
TRADERS in a town centre say 94 per cent of shops who took part in a survey are against plans for a new bus station.
Business owners in Accrington town centre have also organised a customer petition calling for action on the high number of shop closures.
The news comes as a 50-year-old business, Norths Dry Cleaners in Whalley Road, has closed its doors. The shock closure is said by nearby traders to reflect a growing problem. Currently a quarter of town centre shops stand empty in Accrington.
A survey of 50 shops and traders in Accrington Town Centre saw only three agree with plans for the new Crawshaw Street bus station, replacing the Peel Street facility. Other traders who responded to the survey, organised by businesses in the town, said they feared the plan would cause more closures.
As well as drafting the survey, town centre traders also asked customers to sign petitions calling for help with high business costs. A total of 162 shoppers have signed the document which calls for a reduction on rents and rates to prevent other closures.
The petition said: “As more shops close less people come into town which has the effect of speeding up the loss of other shops which are the lifeblood of the centre. The high cost of rents and rates are crippling shopkeepers.”
Shops who were surveyed about the bus station plan said they were concerned regarding the effect of the move.
Julie O’Hara, at Barbara Kays Accessories, said: “We have niche customers who travel here especially to see us, but we are still concerned we are going to end up in a ghost town.
“The new bus station is not close enough to the centre or the market. People are not going to walk it, let alone carry bags that distance. We have already lost Norths this week, which was a total shock.”
Lisa Milburn, owner of Blackburn Road's Extreme Designer Wear, said: “Some of us are doing well, but so many places have closed. We know that if the money isn’t used on a new bus station the funds will be lost, but moving it will kill businesses. I have spoken to some already who are planning to move.”
Leader of Hyndburn Council Miles Parkinson said he would be lobbying the government to reduce business rates.
He said: “The bus station decision was made several years ago and any changes would simply see us lose the bid entirely. There was consultation at the time and it will give more loading bays and parking than at present.”