Loyalty cards recommended for town centre shops

NAILSEA town needs more independent retailers, maps of the centre and loyalty cards according to a research group brought in to survey its shopping experience.

An Action for Market Towns (AMT) report released on Monday, commissioned by the chamber of trade, Nailsea Town Council and Crown Glass Shopping Centre, called for greater diversity in shops and a better link between the High Street and Somerset Square.

AMT questioned business owners and shoppers on the good and bad points of Nailsea’s current shopping setup earlier this year.

More than two-thirds of those polled criticised the lack of shopping variety, with more than a dozen units empty. A similar amount rated Nailsea as poor for the lack of leisure options and for rent prices being too high - although the report said they are similar to the national average.

AMT consultants said Nailsea provides a poor first impression and is confusing for visitors, with few maps or signs showing where shops are.

Team Nailsea – consisting of members of the town council, the chamber of trade and shopping centre bosses – has now been created to oversee improvements.

One of its members, Ian Thompson, who is a letting agent for the town, said it was important to take heed of the recommendations.

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He said he is looking into bringing in discount loyalty cards, but warned Team Nailsea needs businesses to work together and sign up for the scheme.

The AMT survey revealed several good points in Nailsea, with 84 per cent of businesses stating that free parking is important, and many describing it as ‘essential’.

Rod Lees, chairman of the town council, said: “Car park charges are a very real issue still and I have a horrible feeling that Nailsea will be left with them soon.

“The town council is doing all it can but we are just one voice and I think people need to speak out against them.”

He added that the addition of top-quality businesses would go some way to enticing shoppers to the region.

He said: “We need a butcher in the town centre. Quite often I go to Congresbury where there’s one and an excellent bakery next door. If Congresbury can do that why can’t we? It amazes me.”