Cleethorpes shops unite to fight drop in trade
BUSINESSES in a "run-down and neglected" area of Cleethorpes have united in a bid to get more support and turn around their "frightening decline".
While niche stores continue to thrive in Sea View Street, independent cafés and shops at the Market Square end of Alexandra Road are struggling to bring trade in.
They claim the development of Meridian Park has led to a decline in the number of visitors to the main part of the resort and want to see more events held in the centre of the resort.
They don't understand why North East Lincolnshire Council does not allow events on the Pier Gardens – which are opposite the row of shops – and believe if it did, it could turn their businesses around.
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Toy and souvenir store Tom's Bargain Centre has been struggling for 18 months.
Owner Gary Harding, 52, said: "The level of decline is frightening. We've seen a drop in customers and it's getting to the point where there's little we can do.
"Shops are closing down and they're becoming eyesores, we desperately need something to attract people to the Market Place and from Meridian Park.
"If the Pier Park could be used for an arts and crafts fair or for a children's bouncy castle, then there would be more passing trade, and I wouldn't be in this situation."
Manager of the Palm Café Bistro, Royce Wright, 58, said: "New development is attracting people towards Pleasure Island and the stores there, and we just can't compete. We keep lowering our prices but we're not on the same scale as some of the shops there."
He added: "If the council would allow people to set up stalls or children's attractions on the Pier Gardens, we could attract a lot more passing customers."
As reported, the council stopped financially backing the Cleethorpes Carnival this year despite it bringing 25,000 people to the resort every year.
The Festival Of Flight – which is on Saturday, July 27, and Sunday, July 28, next year – brought 70,000 people to the resort and £3 million to the local economy. This is organised by an independent company, although supported by NELC.
Co-owners of Dolphin Fish Bar, on the corner of Market Place and Alexandra Road, Imran and Aamar Sheikh, believe more events is the answer.
Imran said: "We need more events in Cleethorpes. The Carnival brought in loads of people. Imagine having something like that every few months? There should be lights in the Market Square too and more signs. We need to give this end of town the wow factor."
Lee Money, manager of The Fiddler in the Market Place, agrees. He said: "They (NELC) are always trying to stop us from putting our own events on. They say they are trying to do the best for everyone but it doesn't seem to be the best for pubs and clubs where the majority of people spend their money."
Councillor Mick Burnett, portfolio holder for tourism and culture, confirmed a number of events are already scheduled for winter and next year. He said: "Our aim is to attract large-scale events that will have a resort-wide impact.
"However, this will only work for the benefit of everyone if all businesses work together.
"If anyone has a specific complaint or suggestions then they need to work with us by attending established tourism meetings, which are open to all interested parties keen to improve our tourism offer."