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Fifth of traders want to leave Christchurch, survey says
A SURVEY of Christ-church traders has revealed frustration, discontent and unhappiness among businesses in the town.
The town centre survey, organised by the Christchurch Chamber of Trade, was issued to traders to get views on the state of their business and the perceived threats to profitability.
Nearly 60 per cent replied with 50 per cent seeing the opportunity to expand although 31 per cent thought they were restricted due to lack of funding.
Almost a quarter of those who responded – 22 per cent – were considering moving to another location.
More than 70 per cent of traders thought poor transport links were having an adverse impact on their business while a staggering 91 per cent regarded parking as a major issue.
Ninety-three per cent said they were suffering due to the economic situation and half of the respondents said they faced considerable threats from other towns and out of centre competition.
Unsurprisingly 91 per cent of businesses thought rent and rates were too high.
On the subject of what might increase footfall to the town, 84 per cent believed the range of businesses was poor while 59 per cent thought the town was too downmarket and 78 per cent thought the empty properties were not a good advert for the town.
And 81 per cent of traders thought the council was not helping much, with policies detrimental to their business.
Peter Watson-Lee, pictured, president of the Chamber said: “The Christchurch Chamber of Trade and Commerce undertake these surveys periodically to ensure we can properly understand and represent the local business community. “It is comes as no great surprise that 91 per cent of businesses regard parking in Christchurch as a major issue.
“This survey was before the council’s recent decision to reject the Chamber’s campaign for “£1 for 2 hours”.
“It is interesting to note that even at the time of the survey 81% thought the council’s policies were detrimental to their businesses and one wonders whether that percentage will have increased given the council’s refusal to do anything to tackle the parking fee problem.
“It is interesting that half the businesses that responded said they saw an opportunity to expand, although depressing that over a fifth were considering moving to a different location.
“This underlines how important it is for us and policy makers to listen to the concerns of our local businesses.”