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More shops 'essential for city's future prosperity'
SALISBURY needs more shops, cafés and restaurants if it is to compete with nearby towns and cities according to a leading businessman.
Ian Newman, chairman of Salisbury City Centre Management, says the redevelopment of the Maltings and Central car park will be critical to the long-term viability of the city centre.
“Salisbury’s businesses are currently losing around £37m a year to neighbouring towns and cities,”
“This is the estimated spend by people choosing to go to places like Southampton, Bournemouth and Winchester for their shopping or for leisure purposes, rather than coming to Salisbury.
“This is £750,000 every week missing from the tills of the city’s shops, cafés, restaurants and other businesses, with more than 50 per cent of this leakage going to Southampton.
“We have to do something to stem this because if we don’t it will get worse and this will lead to shops closing on a massive scale.”
Mr Newman was responding to recent comments that Salisbury already has enough shops, cafés and other facilities.
“Shopping today is the country’s most popular and arguably most important leisure activity,” he said.
“Gone are the days when people simply shopped out of necessity.
People today shop for enjoyment, as a means of relaxing and of spending time with friends or family.
Going shopping is combined with other activities – having a drink or something to eat or even going to the cinema or theatre.
“It is the provision and availability of all of these elements that determine how attractive a city is from a shopping perspective.”
Mr Newman said proposals from developer Stanhope to transform the Maltings and Central car park into a shopping and leisure area with flagship stores, riverside cafés and restaurants and other attractions were essential for the city’s future prosperity.
“Every single one of our competitors has invested heavily over the past five years,” he said.
“They have provided more shops and better facilities where we have simply stood still.
“We cannot allow this to continue.“ Any place that stands still becomes moribund until it eventually withers and dies.
“This is why the redevelopment of the Central car park and Maltings is so important.
“It is the only available site in the city that can accommodate a retail-led development of the size that Salisbury needs and which is commercially viable.
“For the future of Salisbury, not just the business community, we need this development and we need it as soon as possible.”
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