Petition circulates as shoppers seek change

'Beading Crafty' at the new bead shop of that name which opened  in Kenilworth on Saturday were the Mayor Coun Spencer Harrison and Proprietor Shona Perkins.
'Beading Crafty' at the new bead shop of that name which opened in Kenilworth on Saturday were the Mayor Coun Spencer Harrison and Proprietor Shona Perkins.

Shoppers have rallied round in a call for major changes to town centre trade and shopping after putting their names to a new retail petition.

The petition was launched by Beading Crafty’s Shona Perkins who hit out at the number of subsidised charity shops after announcing closure of her own business after six years.

Putting a drop in trade partly down to increasing numbers of the second hand shops and high rents and rates, Ms Perkins said the petition was started in response to growing support for her calls for change.

And after trying to drum up support for a change on how business rates are capped or subsidised, it is all about getting more help for struggling independent retailers.

“In just 17 working days we have 122 signatures just from those coming into the shop,” she said.

“Some specifically to sign it, as the word spreads as many residents want some action from someone in authority to put a sensible limit on the amount of charity shops and duplicate outlets in the town.”

“Flooding our high street with one type of business is no good for anyone.”

The shop is due to close at the end of February, but it is not yet known what will occupy the space in Warwick Road,

But promoting a diversity of traders, Richard Hales, chairman of the town chamber of trade said he believes Kenilworth offers something for everyone.

“I understand these concerns about the shops in Kenilworth, but it is hard to classify what shops are wanted by different shoppers and what different shoppers see as a better class of shops,” he said.

“We have a wide range of businesses, restaurants and bars and facing very challenging conditions for everyone at the moment.

“A lot of independent businesses are doing very well and we are attracting more new businesses to the town. It is a case of getting shoppers in.”

The petition will continue to be circulated across the town before Ms Perkins decides on her next step.