Town has a future - as long as you use it

A TOWN centre letting agent is telling shoppers to ‘use it or lose it’ in Nailsea.

Ian Thompson, the letting agent for Crown Glass Shopping Centre, has said he is doing all he can to make Nailsea a thriving centre once more and is calling on shoppers to help him.

Clinton’s is the latest big name to disappear from the high street along with Peacocks and several others this year, leaving 10 units standing empty.

But the opening of WHSmith last week and a JD Wetherspoon pub in April show the town centre is not on its deathbed yet.

Mr Thompson said: “Use it or lose it, really that’s the catchphrase for shoppers.”

But to encourage them to come to Nailsea instead of driving to Cribbs Causeway or Cabot Circus in Bristol, there has to be something there in the first place.

Nailsea Town Council, the town’s chamber of trade and the shopping centre owners have joined forces and spent �2,400 on a review of the current facilities, which national charity Action for Market Towns is currently carrying out.

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But while it takes place, Mr Thompson is targeting areas the shopping centre currently lacks.

He said: “Let’s Walk closed down earlier in the year and I’m stunned if there isn’t an opportunity for someone in the market to come into Nailsea and make some money.

“We are also looking for franchise businesses that should also be in Nailsea, someone like Subway for instance.”

Although the fast food chain was used as an example, the success of JD Wetherspoon’s Glassmaker pub is proof that such businesses can thrive.

A spokesman for the new pub said the chain is delighted with its early success.

It is impossible to discuss the future of the town centre without mentioning car parking.

Rumours of parking charges have remained just that and Mr Thompson say it is ‘essential’ North Somerset Council does not introduce them. He said the financial benefits they would bring in would be massively outweighed by the damage to the local market.

He said: “With petrol prices being so expensive it is convenient and Nailsea has free parking and plenty of it.

“I think it is essential it remains as it is a benefit the town has had for a long time. It is vital. Local councils around the country have seen parking in town centres as a cash cow but they are now realising they are losing business.”