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High Street retailers facing meltdown

January 15, 2011 8:29 AM

Brentwood High StreetResidents in Brentwood are seriously concerned about the number of shops closing in Brentwood High Street and the lack of action by Tory controlled Brentwood Borough Council to tackle the problem. Shops such as Pizza Hut, Subway, Belgique and Curry's have been able to survive in other areas but not in Brentwood.

Liberal Democrat councillors David Kendall and Nigel Clarke have been out and about talking to High Street businesses to listen to their concerns and see what they would like done to help them. Retailers told them that the main issues hitting them hard are high business rates, increased rents and the cost of car parking in the town.

The Lib Dems are now calling for the Council to put together an urgent action plan to try and save more High Street businesses from going under. They say the plan needs to include:

- An urgent review of day and night time car parking charges which allows an element of free parking during the day.

- The "cash back" parking scheme bought in by the previous Lib Dem administration re-introduced as soon as possible.

- More help for those businesses who need it with the phasing of payments on their business rates.

-Lobbying the property owners directly for more realistic rents in Brentwood High Street.

Lib Dem Leader Cllr David Kendall said:

"The Tories need to get an urgent grip on the demise of our High Street and stop pretending everything is alright.

"The loss of well known names such as Pizza Hut, Subway and Curry's should have alarm bells ringing but there is little sign of action to stop the rot when our retailers desperately need help now.

"There must be more the Council can do to address the problems businesses face on car parking, rents and business rates and we will be pushing them to take action on all these points. However, their reaction includes recent news that they want to charge retailers in the Bay Tree Centre to keep the Multi Storey Car Park open on a Sunday!

This shows the Tories are even more out of touch than we thought however we will do our best to make sure the voices of retailers are heard."