Opening late ‘not an option’ for businesses

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SPALDING’S shopkeepers say suggestions they should be more “flexible” to draw in visitors will not help pay their bills.

Traders have hit out after a South Holland district councillor said they could consider alternative opening hours when parking is free to encourage more people to shop locally.

Coun Gary Taylor made the comments in Tuesday’s Lincolnshire Free Press when addressing concerns that parking problems were turning Spalding into a ghost town.

However, Susan Stubley, of Occasions Jewellers in Bridge Street, said it is not worthwhile opening later.

She said: “In the week the town doesn’t get started much before 11am and the town is dead by 4pm.

“With respect to Coun Taylor, he doesn’t have bills to pay with lights and employees and, to be honest, the town does not have enough independent or chain stores to hold and interest people here.”

Mrs Stubley believes shoppers could be drawn in by improving the appearance of the town.

Julie Grant, of Butters in New Road, said she found local shoppers know opening hours and “shop accordingly”.

She believes most businesses would say the same.

“If I stopped open until midnight there would always be that one odd person who would want to use you just because they can,” she said.

“Businesses can not afford to pay the overtime to staff. Retail is struggling. Doesn’t Coun Taylor read the nationals?

“Several big businesses have folded recently, many of which stayed open late and opened on Sundays.

“We should not have to stay open outside of the pay to park hours so that the local council can still reap the rewards from motorists.”

Mrs Grant said it was “proof” that the council is “not really interested” in the small business on the High Street.

She added: “Maybe they will be when it is too late and we have all closed down due to a lack of business or through illness caused by the stress and over work of it all.”