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Last Updated: Monday, 6 June, 2005, 10:19 GMT 11:19 UK
Call to cut charity shops in town
Dresses
Charity shops argue they bring visitors to the town.
Launceston town centre has too many charity shops, according to local business leaders.

They are calling for legislation to limit the number of shops, while traders also want charity shops with prime sites to pay some business rates.

Civic leaders and the charities say the shops bring more life into the town and attract people who spend money in other premises as well.

The town's commerce organisation is to raise the matter with MP Dan Rogerson.

Deputy mayor Oliver Harris says it is helping keep the heart of the town alive.

He said: "I think it brings the people in. When they're here they go somewhere else. It's good for the town."

This is hardly a level playing field
Carol Wells, FSB

However, Carol Wells from the Federation of Small Businesses in Cornwall disagrees.

She said: "I believe there was a recent BBC survey of how the public perceived the persona of a high street.

"It was actually taken down by an abundance of charity shops.

"I think that may be because they don't open quite as early so people feel the high street is shut for a certain amount of time so they don't actually come in because there are more charity shops and perhaps they go elsewhere."

Launceston now has five charity shops.

Town enhancement

Steve Jones, who owns the Fontanella Café, is the chairman of the town's commerce organisation.

He said: "They do take prime sites. They don't pay rates. Local traders can't compete sometimes with the offers that are made and it is a concern that they do tend to push out local traders."

Regional manager of the British Heart Foundation Terry Rolfe said there was a demand for the merchandise.

"We fit the shops out to a high standard and I think we actually enhance the town," he said.

Vicky Geech from the VG Deli said: "They are taking big retail sites in the middle of town, they won't be paying business rates and because of that North Cornwall district council is going to have find that shortfall in rates in some other way.

"A little bit of rates for them may not be too much of a hardship."


SEE ALSO:
Thumbs up for industry expansion
08 Dec 03 |  Cornwall


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