Tough times for town’s traders

Shoppers in Cleveleys
Shoppers in Cleveleys

Its thriving shopping centre was once described as one of the “jewels in Wyre’s crown” but Cleveleys traders have been finding things difficult.

Although a late Christmas rush gave the town’s shops a much-needed boost, many traders fear 2012 will be one of the toughest years yet.

Cleveleys has already been hit hard by the closure of the tram track with works due to be completed in April.

And a price hike on parking charges across the borough on January 1 has increased their fears.

Martin Hunns, chairman of Cleveleys Chamber of Trade and owner of Carousel Diner on Kings Road, said: “In the run-up to Christmas it was pretty slow, but on Christmas Eve and the day before, there was a sudden rush of customers buying last minute gifts and food which could have saved us.

“We were not open on Boxing Day but on Tuesday we matched last year, which considering the difficulties we have faced is fantastic.

“So if the trend continues and the weather holds we could hit our target which is vital when you think about what we will face next year.”

Mr Hunns said he was “infuriated” by Wyre Council’s decision to increase parking charges by 10p for two hours and 20p for four, and said: “January is a bad month anyway, so to throw this on us as well is a disgrace.”

John Prothero, of Fredericks on Victoria Road West, said he was pleasantly surprised with his Christmas takings but warned the town should brace itself for difficult times ahead.

But he added: “If we work hard at it and give people a quality service, we should be OK.”

Wyre Council said it had offset a rise in residents’ parking passes to soften the blow of car park price hikes.