Supporting our town centres, shops and high streets is a priority for many.
In spite of the national trend towards supermarkets and online shopping, Pendle residents value our local shops.
Living in the centre of Colne, I have been delighted at how well the town has been doing. New businesses have been opening up in shops that have been closed for decades. Shackleton Hall had been become an eyesore but has been fully refurbished, providing office space for 150 people. The shopping arcade’s retail units are all fully let.
Another turnaround is The Green Chimney in Colne, a thriving business in place of a derelict shop front, that won my Pendle’s Best Independent Shop 2013 Award. Thank you to the 1,000+ who voted, of which almost a quarter went for The Green Chimney.
Manchester Road in Nelson reopening to traffic in 2011 along with Government and Pendle Council support is delivering results. Nelson has been a Portas Pilot town since 2012 and has hosted events such as the Arts and Vintage Markets, bringing thousands of people into the town.
Barnoldswick’s new market is proving incredibly popular as local traders work together. Retailers in Barrowford, Earby and elsewhere are also noticing the economy picking up.
There was more welcome news the Budget too.
The decision to extend the £1,000 business rate relief will save £750m for high street businesses, and the Employment Allowance – a £2,000 cash-back on jobs – is now available to all businesses. The Government had already doubled small business rate relief and brought in the new reoccupation relief, halving rates for businesses taking over shops that have been empty for over a year.
Despite the trend towards the supermarkets and online, Pendle is showing that when we work together we really can make a difference.