‘Let’s talk’ message to town’s ‘dowdy’ shops

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Something should be done about Spalding’s ‘dowdy’ shop fronts.

That is the opinion of members of the Town Forum, with Eastern European shops the target of most the concerns.

Chairman Coun George Aley said: “I walk through the streets and I feel disillusioned when I see a lot of shops where you can’t tell whether they are closed or open.

“I’m wondering if there is any way we can speak to the owners.

“I just don’t think people will want to go in – it makes the town look dowdy.”

Harry Drury, representing the Spalding and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said he had visited several shops where the windows were covered in adverts and it was difficult to see in.

He said: “We want them to look open and welcoming. I know one of them has had a £100,000 refit, but still leaves the shutters down.

“In some cases doors are closed at the shops because it’s energy saving – in others windows are used for shelving to save on space and covered to deter shoplifters.

“At one shop things were moved around to install an oven to bake Polish bread on the premises.

“The owners don’t understand the problems we have with them because their customers know what they sell and will shop with them anyway.”

Coun Christine Lawton said she thought the foreign shops had a lot to offer.

She said: “I’ve tasted Polish bread and it is delicious.”

Coun Roger Gambba-Jones said: “They are not reliant on window shoppers. They think people know they are there and they will come.

“But they are Spaldonians, too, and they need to be reminded of that.”

The Rev Chas Sandhu, of the Lighthouse Church, suggested members invited one of the town’s integration groups, such as Linked2Gether – which in May held a community picnic in Ayscoughfee gardens to bring the towns diverse cultures together – to their next meeting.

He said: “Communication is a problem. We need to spend time with the Eastern European communities and negotiate with them.”

Mr Drury said he thought that would be an excellent idea. He said: “I know for sure they would be honoured to come here and sit with you and have these discussions.”