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Double shop units vacant – how can we prevent high street chains gaining tenure?

From Helen Taylor

Friday, 23 March 2012

I notice that double vacant units have come up for rent recently – the units on Bridge Gate where Rouge used to be, and the two units where Booths is (now sadly in administration) on the corner of New Road and Crown Street. They are both prime locations, and rare double units. I cringe at the mere idea that high-street biggies might take these valuable sites. How can we make sure this doesn't happen? Even one of these conspicuous site going to a chain would substantially change the character of Hebden and erode its great value as a gem of a town full of independents in stark comparison to almost everywhere else.

From Ian M

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Double shop units vacant – how can we prevent high street chains gaining tenure?

Message Body: The short answer is you can't!

Anyway its a complete myth that Hebden is a town with no big chains, what with the Co-op, Ladbrookes, Spar, Boots the chemist, any one of the big Banks, estate agencies and brewing chains, never mind all the charity shops!

From Jason Elliott

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Surely, this is the point at which our elected representatives use the planning system, if they want to of course...

But I have to ask; what if no independent businesses want to take these units at the rents being asked? Would the people of Hebden Bridge prefer to see them empty? Or occupied by high street chains and taking a few more local people into employment, as they surely would?

This is a very tricky question.

Boots seems to have been accepted as part of the town without too many complaints, even though it is a "chain store" (AND there are two of them here) yet the idea of a recognised brand hoisting their flag on the main A646 through the town has this forum collectively reaching for the pitchforks.

Is the notion of Hebden Bridge being an exclusive haven for independent shops an idea that takes primacy over all other things?

Certainly, the "quirky town full of unusual shops" idea would help if, collectively, we are happy to make Hebden a town whose primary industry is tourism, but I'm not so sure we have decided what we want.

After all, there are probably as many post on this forum complaining about the empty units on Market Street as there are worrying about the possibility of chain stores moving in.

Personally, I love the independent shops here, and really appreciate the fact that they keep money circulating in the town, rather than syphoning it off to shareholders and ridiculous salaries for company executives elsewhere, BUT, I also know more and more people here (usually from "local" families and without many qualifications) who'd like a job, however basic.

It's a tricky one and I, as yet, am undecided...

From H Gregg

Monday, 26 March 2012

. . . and the long answer is that you maybe can - it depends on who owns the premises (the landlords) - chances are that they're local.

Find out, lobby them (get a group together to do it).

Better still - ask them to put a covenant on the premises to disallow letting to any business with more than (think of a number) outlets. Hope this helps Helen - the last thing you say to a Hebdenite is "you can't . . . "


From Andy M

Monday, 26 March 2012

You're saying that all high street chains are undesirable in some way..in a market economy . . . in a 'free' country?

The little shops and businesses we have are there by virtue of a certain niche market competitive success and, if chains are able to move in, that reflects a changing economic landscape .

You could perhaps set up your own business to combat this . . . and good luck to you!


From David Telford

Monday, 26 March 2012

The planning laws can't stop a shop opening unless it specifically needs a change of use (take away / restaurant) or a licence (bookies, sex shop etc)

The best way to ensure the shop is taken by the type of shop you as an individual particually wants is to draw a business plan up, re-mortgage your home and set up yourself. The important thing is to ensure there are enough potetial customers who'd also want a similar shop and similar goods.

From Carl C

Monday, 26 March 2012

Wouldn't worry too much about it. Both shops are earmarked for eateries ! Just what's needed, more Cafes.

From Dave R

Monday, 26 March 2012

Firstly, I find Jason's views in the main agreeable. however I take umbrage with his comment;"but, I also know more and more people here (usually from "local" families and without many qualifications) who'd like a job, however basic" quite condescending in that: 1) is he suggesting that 'local families lack qualifications to allow them to get the 'better jobs'? and 2) Are these jobs only to be found out of the town?

What is to stop the empty shops becoming bona-fida local business premises employing local people with skills? Should these shops be replaced as by like? Or is their closure evidence that that type of shop couldnt make it?

Are the rents fair? i seem to recall the owner of one of the shops reporting on the unfairness of her landlord in this forum. Would we like any more gift/luxury good stores to open? How about hairdressers or charity shops - both of which are predominant in the town?

Is it better to have some tenants than none? We are hardly going to attract a Primark or Booze Busters in premises of that size are we?

I would rather see a recognised name with ethical produce open e.g The Body Shop, than the above

From Bob Deacon

Monday, 26 March 2012

Of the comments so far I think the one suggesting that we find out who the landlords are and find out their views and the rents they want and urging them to use covenants to try and regulate shop usage is a good one. More cafe's and more of the town centre tipping in the direction of the weekend day tripper would be bad news I think. See my comment about the need to preserve the local food shops in the supermarket discussion. On the charity shops isn't this something that actually serves both the tourists and the locals quite well?

Sometimes too many charity shops are seen as an indication of town centre decline. Here I think they are a collective life style choice, interesting to day trippers, as well as useful for people with little money of whom there are many. All of this . . . the supermarket . . . use of town centre shops . . . do we want just to cater for tourists . . . suggests the need to find out more about what those who live within the confines of the small town centre think. Any school/ college want to arrange a survey? A job for the Hebden Bridge Community Association?

From Andy M

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

So what sort of shops do you think the town should have Bob - if there are 'too many' day-tripper facilities, lots of hair-dressers, outdoor, book and charity shops and existing food shops?

I'm struggling to think what we could do with more of!

A fishmonger perhaps but that's probably catered for by the market

A good evening restaurant rather than another cafe style one?

Affordable clothes shops maybe?

From Christopher Reason

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Am I the only one who would relish a really decent Indian /Pakistani restaurant in town?

From Helen Chilton

Thursday, 17 May 2012

No, Chris, you are not alone.

As many of us have noticed, the Inn on the Bridge has been under extensive re-construction since before Xmas.

If you stop and chat to the very pleasant guy outside who seems to be doing most of the work and ask him what is planned - he says, a pub with a restaurant.

Months ago I said - what sort of restaurant? He said, not sure yet. I said could it please be Indian (aka Pakistani)?

He said, Mmm, a few people have said that.

I noticed today that work has resumed, a boundary wall is being built, and he still looks very approachable.

People: why not stop and have a chat with him about what we'd like?

From Andy M

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Helen, could you not argue that a stable chain shop might offer longer term job stability for its staff than a perhaps a misconceived small independent shop - no matter how appealing? They're not all intrinsically evil you know and since a lot of criticism also seems to be aimed at independent 'day-tripper' shops it's a rather circular argument.

From Helen Chilton

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Andy M, I was baffled by your somewhat testy response to my posting about wanting an Indian/Pakistani restaurant here, perhaps at the soon to be opened Inn on the Bridge. It shut me up for a bit....

I have only just realised that you are actually addressing Helen Taylor, who started this thread, and has a take on chain shops.

Two Helens.

In the meantime someone from the Tourism organisation has advised me that an Italian pizza/pasta joint is planned. We already have La Perla, Il Mulino and Turkish pizza at The Olive Branch, all of which could be adversely affected by such a project. What a shame.

From Andy M

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Sorry! Didn't mean to be testy whichever Helen I was addressing!

Not sure I mind which flavour of restaurant we have so long as it's a good one...something the town still seems to struggle with. (with the notable exception of the Olive Branch which whilst unassuming is always nice...and, to be honest, I've never tried Kitties.)


From Andy Grant

Thursday, 12 July 2012

I have it on good authority that the Inn on the Bridge has been purchased, or leased, by the people who have the Fire House in Sowerby Bridge and should re-open in about eight to ten weeks (floods permitting!). While the Fire House does specialise in Italian food, it is intended that the Hebden Bridge branch will instead major in modern British cuisine and good quality real ales from independent breweries, thus avoiding undue competition with the towns existing Italian eateries.