High street shops in battle for survival

PUBLISHED: 14:17 24 September 2009 | UPDATED: 17:13 25 August 2010

STRUGGLING: Toyah Marshall.

STRUGGLING: Toyah Marshall.

A SALON owner says her business has fallen by half after two supermarket giants closed in the town.

A SALON owner says her business has fallen by half after two supermarket giants closed in the town.

Toyah Marshall, 27, from Crayford, achieved her dream nearly fours years ago by opening Beauty One in Welling High Street but in the past year she has seen her business drop dramatically.

Tesco Metro in Embassy Court closed on September 7 last year and is due to re-open as a 73,000sq ft superstore in November next year.

And the Co-op supermarket in the High Street was bought by Morrisons and is currently closed for renovation work.

These temporary supermarket closures resulted in residents going to other parts of the borough for their weekly food shop, she said.

Miss Marshall added: "We are still here. Just because the stores aren't here yet doesn't mean we have stopped trading. We are dying a death.

"There are still a lot of shops here and we are trying to survive. Welling is full of a lot of characters and quirky businesses.

"I have half the amount of clients as I did last summer. Things have been getting progressively worse. I think a lot could have been done. The council haven't done anything to help.

"Moving parking restrictions would have helped as people are not going to pay to stop at one shop and the parking attendants are here all the time.

"The two new stores will be a good thing for Welling. If I was running a bakery I probably wouldn't be so enthralled with it.

"After the supermarkets open I am expecting business to be even better than before.

"I still want people to come into Welling even if the new stores aren't open yet. There are still reasons to come here, even thought the big supermarkets aren't here yet."

A spokesperson for Bexley council said: "The council has been meeting the traders of Welling regularly and parking is generally one of the first subjects discussed.

"As a result, we have improved signage to the town's car parks, new loading bays are being introduced, parking bays have been changed to allow more time for parking and free parking days have been organised. We are also looking at the possibility of introducing new parking bays, but opportunities in the town centre are extremely limited.

"We are committed to helping the traders of Welling and improving parking provision is just one of the ways. We will continue dialogue with them to gain their views and ideas.

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