Independent business owners in Horwich say they need help from the council to attract people to the town.

A number of shops have closed down in recent months, with many blaming the lack of footfall in the area among the principal reasons.

The town boasts an array of different independent firms, from clothes shops to cafes and pubs.

However many in the town believe that Horwich is perceived as a just place where people just come for a hair cut or a nail appointment, or where they order some fast food from.

The Bolton News: Angela Stevens (middle) with staff and Chris Green MP in 2019 after winning awardAngela Stevens (middle) with staff and Chris Green MP in 2019 after winning award (Image: Newsquest)

Angela Steven has owned women's clothing store Ruby Rose Boutique on Lee Lane for 10 years.

She said: “We need to encourage people to come back to the high street. We’re not seeing the footfall that we used to have.

“What we find is people come to Horwich but they’re not walking round looking at the shops.

“We need to encourage people to actually, while they’re here, spend time and have a walk around and see what Horwich has got.”

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Naomi David and Glenn Hoyland recently opened up graphic design and poster shop Fire Press on the same street.

They would like to see a more calculated marketing strategy for the town on the whole.

Glenn said: “If the local retailers and the local council got together and came up with an effective way to use social media and Google ads.

"They stick to a very traditional newspaper, signs at roundabouts, that sort of traditional approach.

"If they were to look at pushing digital advertising and marketing, I think that’s probably the gap that they’re missing.”

The Bolton News: Naomi Davis and Glenn Hoyland - Owners of Fire PressNaomi Davis and Glenn Hoyland - Owners of Fire Press (Image: Newsquest)

Naomi said: “I feel like we need some sort of advertising, so people know what’s here.

"Because if you don’t know what’s here then you’re not going to come.

“We’d like to see a campaign to support us.”

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Regency Estates lets out many of the commercial premises in Horwich, and director Nick Holt also wants to see council intervention.

He said: “Horwich is doing well on service shops. Things you can’t get online like dog groomers, hairdressers. The demand is there.

“It’s sad that several shops have gone but it’s not all doom and gloom.

“They’re throwing £7m at Horwich for the town centre master plan. They could use some of that.”

Commercial property consultant at the firm, Geoff Level, concurs.

“There’s some great little businesses in Horwich," he said.

The Bolton News: Geoff Lever and Nick Holt of Regency EstatesGeoff Lever and Nick Holt of Regency Estates (Image: Newsquest)

“There was a town centre work group that I was invited but the first meeting was cancels and since then I’ve not heard anything.”

Cllr Peter Wright said: “It’s a shame to see shop closing down. Some have closed for different reasons. Some because of the current economic climate and others for personal reasons.

“But there are a lot of news shops opening in Horwich too.

Cllr Wright says that funding that Horwich Town Council has to regenerate the town centre will be used with a view to help businesses thrive, and shopkeepers will be consulted.

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Everyone who spoke to The Bolton News highlighted the lack of parking in the town as one thing that hinders sustained footfall in the area.

Cllr Wright says that he has put forward a number of areas that could be converted into car parks, as well as other schemes being discussed to help with the issue.

“We’re looking to reduce parking to three hours so people can’t just leave their car in one place all day and leave the town.

“There are also plans to have a car park at the new health centre and leisure centre with longer term parking.”

A spokesperson for Bolton Council said: “The council has set aside £16m for regeneration projects in the district centres of Farnworth, Horwich, Westhoughton and Little Lever.

“As part of this, we have worked closely with local residents and businesses to understand what the challenges are in each area, developing and agreeing masterplans and setting out key priorities.

“In Horwich, the main priorities that have been identified include the need for a car parking strategy, public realm improvements and better active travel connectivity, these are being progressed via the Steering Group.

“Bolton Council has also introduced the ‘shop local’ app dscvr, which allows local shops and hospitality venues to promote their businesses to customers.”

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