Monday, 19 May 2008

PRESERVE SMALL SHOPS OR LOSE COMMUNITIES

KENT PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Sunday 18th May 2008 - 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF - www.kentgreenparty.org 0845 257 4236 – 01732 355185 – Mobile: 07747 036192

PRESERVE SMALL SHOPS OR LOSE COMMUNITIES

Concern over the loss of over 50 post offices in Kent, and probably associated small shops, is missing the point. Small, local, independent shops are disappearing rapidly. In these cost-conscious times, shoppers need to be ever more aware of where they spend and what they may wish to preserve. Steve Dawe comments:

“There is a rapid and alarming decline in small shops in both village and urban communities, forcing people to travel further to obtain basic necessities(1). Over 30,000 independent shops have been lost in the past ten years in the UK. This included 8600 independent grocery shops 2000-2005 and 3700 post offices 1999-2004. And 13,000 independent news agents shut during 1995-2004(2).

The results in Kent are apparent: whilst there are small communities with thriving, independent small shops sectors (Edenbridge, Cranbrook, Wye) there are many others where post offices, pubs and small shops have disappeared.

“If ‘community’ means anything, it means that I should be able to walk out of my home into my neighbourhood and find local businesses selling essentials. I should not have to get into a car to do this. I should also be able to find small, specialist retailers from which to buy goods and services. But specialist food retailers, like Canterbury Wholefoods in Canterbury (3) and the Goods Shed, also in the City, are very hard to find in Kent’s towns and villages.

“But this is a choice. If people choose to use small enterprises, then they will help preserve them. If not, then all high streets will look the same (4) and small urban and rural communities will have few shops of any kind. In short, they will become dormitory settlements rather than real communities.”
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FURTHER INFORMATION: Steve Dawe on 01732 355185 or 07747 036192. Contact address as above.

Notes:
See for example: High Street Britain: 2015 by the All-Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group (House of Commons): http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/15_02_06_highstreet.pdf
Paul Kingsnorth – Real England: the battle against the bland (Portobello Books, 2008) pp.101-102.
Steve Dawe worked for Canterbury Wholefoods 1993-1997.
They will become ‘Clone Towns’ as the New Economics Foundation has suggested.

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