A LOCAL BUSINESSMANS VIEW
As a very worried Darlington businessman of 30 years standing I feel that I can no longer remain silent.
Businesses in Darlington are just surviving, 2 or 3 a week are closing or going under. The Town Crier Sept 06 – The Future Looks Great page 6, this business has subsequently closed since moving into the town centre after 40 years of trading in Darlington. At a recent community partnership forum meeting John Buxton, Director of Development and Environment laid the blame for failure with Lifestyle saying that the products being sold were perhaps not appropriate for the chosen marketplace. However in The Northern Echo on Thursday 14th September
Managing director Brian McPherson, who bought the company from Alan Goodrich in 1995, said that footfall had dropped dramatically since the start of the £7m Pedestrian Heart project.
He said that in October last year, before the start of the project, the Blackwellgate shop's sales had been eight per cent up on the previous year.
He said that during the works, the shop had endured 8ft barriers outside the premises, disruption from digging and traffic, as well as continuous noise and traffic fumes.
He told The Northern Echo yesterday: "The council, who stated in their manifesto they encourage and support independents, have failed badly on this occasion.
"As no financial support was given to traders, this council has turned its back on their manifesto pledges.
How can local businesses even hope to succeed within the present culture?
Soon we won’t need to worry about congestion or park and ride schemes, unless of course people are flocking to see our glorified patio area (once proudly now as the market square), or to shop in our new Tesco/Asda/Co-op…(depending on which multinational has greased the right palms). Be under no illusion that if this council gets its way on this issue then that’s all that will be left of our town.
Anybody who went into Darlington on August Bank Holiday Monday would have been horrified at how dead the town was. Darlington Borough Council can’t tell me that the means will justify the end. Also let us not forget that we are a market town. We must fight to keep our markets and support and encourage the market traders.
I have spoken with a substantial amount of business colleagues, friends and other business people who like me are depressed and disillusioned. All I have heard from them is, who is there to speak on our behalf or even to listen to our concerns?
Never have I in 30 years of trading felt so angry. This town has been raped and pillaged by a council that doesn’t give a damn about anyone or anything other than residing in a new town hall of some grand design, I presume!!! Our town centre looks like a building site and I don’t have high hopes of it looking any better once it has been completed and all it has is national companies and Darlington brand businesses like mine have been allowed to go to the wall.
The council are consulting on Tescogate, I like many others have no faith in Darlington Borough Council consultations. One example being: Darlington Borough Council wrote to businesses on Duke Street on 4/5/06 to consult on changes to Hackney Carriage stand provision as the council wants to designate 75 metres of Duke Street as a taxi rank, part of which runs directly outside of my business premises. Most businesses on Duke Street felt that this would have a detrimental effect on business. I replied immediately as did many other businesses on Duke Street, four months have passed and no replies or updates on the proposals have been received. WHERE is the accountability??
When will the bread and butter businesses like mine be listened to? It feels like the bulldozers are sat on the edge of town with their engines running, just waiting for the nod. Action needs to be taken now before it is too late.
left by Tim Hinton- Clifton