Traders campaign for cap on charity shops
INDEPENDENT traders in Clevedon have launched a campaign to call for a national cap on the number of charity shops that are allowed to open in a single area.
Business owners in Hill Road have already collected hundreds of signatures on a petition calling for support in lobbying for a limit to be placed on the number of charity shops in The Triangle and Hill Road areas.
They also hope to spearhead a national campaign to call for Government legislation to be changed to allow a national cap to be introduced.
The traders say they have growing concerns about the number of charity shops opening in the Queens Square area as well as concerns about a new Weston Hospicecare store planned for Hill Road, which will sell designer clothes and quality home furnishings.
However, they are keen to point out they are not against the idea of traditional charity shops in any way nor is their campaign specifically targeted at Weston Hospicecare.
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The sheer number of stores opening in town centres is their concern, along with a ‘new breed’ of charity shop which buys in stock.
Jane Brake, owner of Estuary in Hill Road, said: “Our issue is the new breed of charity shops with big budgets.
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“A large part of their stock is not donated - they buy their stock in. They will sell it at a much-reduced price.
“This will be the death of independent traders.
“At the moment, the shops here work together and exist by making sure we know what each other stocks and we don’t end up competing with each other.
“The charity shops pay one fifth of the rates that traders do - it is not a level playing field.”
Sandy Prater owner of Fizz Gallery in Hill Road said: “The more charity shops that open, the less people use the area and then more people go out of business.
“There are businesses here that are hanging on by their fingertips.
“When we have a charity shop that will sell the same things as us but at lower prices, it will hurt.
“This is a national issue and we really want to work as a town on this.”
* The online petition and more information can be found at www.protectclevedon.co.uk