Despite the inconvenience of the temporary closure of Boots Corner on Cheltenham’s inner ring road, and the threat of 20% increases in council-owned car parks, Cllr Tim Harman, leader of Cheltenham Borough Council’s Conservative opposition group, has called on shoppers to show their support for the town’s retailers by shopping locally for High Street Saturday this week (March 16).
“High Street Saturday aims to celebrate the place of high streets and promenades at the heart of communities like Cheltenham, and the difficulties imposed by the local council should not be allowed to impact visitors,” he said.
As part of the day, local people are encouraged to:
- Pledge to shop locally on High Street Saturday
- Share photos and messages online using #HighStreetSaturday
- Encourage local councils to make good use of central government’s Future High Street Fund, to help retailers counter the impact of online and out-of-town retailers.
“High streets have long been a place to bring communities together, a place for local people to access vital services and a place for businesses to thrive. Here in Cheltenham, the end of the big race week is a great time to run High Street Saturday because, traditionally, locals stay away from the town centre during the week, so encouraging them to return makes good business sense,” explained Cllr Harman.
The government has delivered over £10 billion of business rates support since 2016, including cutting small retailers’ bills by a third. It’s backed community leaders with £675 million of funding to help modernise their high streets and town centres and has relaxed planning rules to support new homes on the high street, transforming them into community hubs where people work, live and shop.
“But, as the retail market changes, I am encouraging people across the town to join me on Saturday in pledging to shop locally to support the independent businesses we all know and love,” concluded Cllr Harman.