I WRITE in response to a recent article in the Echo regarding the so-called gradual decline in the High Street in Christchurch .

The feature focuses on the “many factors” that contribute to this – high business rates, parking problems, internet shopping and reduced footfall. The reality is that these issues are pretty much the same for any other town in the country.

But we must be more positive.

My parents started selling shoes back in 1957 in Purewell and then moved Mathews Shoes into Christchurch High Street in 1971 where we have been providing footwear for generations of families in Christchurch and surrounding areas.

In recent years we have had to consolidate our business by moving two shops into one because we want to be a permanent part of this wonderful town for many years to come.

Things are tough at the moment – Brexit, the storms and now the virus all contributing to tough trading on the high street – but I am confident things will improve.

We have some wonderful businesses, shops, cafes and restaurants in and around the centre of Christchurch. We just need to support them as much as we can.

The council and landlords must play their part. Affordable rents, sensible rateable values, start up packages for new businesses will all help. Keeping parking in and around the town easy and affordable is also important. We are part of a parking refund scheme where shoppers will get £1 back if they spend more than £10 in the shop. We also need a longer parking option, especially for visitors.

I think we just do not realise how lucky we are to live in such a wonderful part of the country. Time is pleasant in Christchurch. Let’s keep it that way.


Mathews Shoes High Street, Christchurch