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Monk Challenged over Guildhall Street Strategy

June 8, 2018 9:49 AM
Chani Sanger outside To Let Shop in Guildhall Street

Chani: What is the strategy to get these shops back in business - and STAYING in business?

Long term Folkestone resident Chani Sanger has challenged Council Leader David Monk over the number of vacant shop units blighting Guildhall Street and other areas of Folkestone. Although there has always been a number of empty units in the area, a recent visit showed it's worse than ever, and action is now long overdue.

Lib Dem campaigner Chani wants to see a proper strategy to give businesses confidence to open and stay in the area. Chani says:

"A lot of good things have happened in Folkestone over the past few years. Areas like the Old High Street, Tontine Street and Harbour Arm getting a lot of investment from the Creative Foundation and others have made a massive improvement to our town.

"However some areas are being left behind - Guildhall Street for example. It certainly seems that businesses are struggling to survive with a combination of low visitor numbers and overly high rents.

"I have written to Folkestone and Hythe Council Leader David Monk asking for his to send me details of the Council's strategy to entice new businesses into places like Guildhall Street, get empty shops back into use, and help keep businesses here for a decent period of time.

"A good strategy for local businesses would help to ensure rents and business rates are reasonable, ensure parking is the right price (and free where possible), offer business support, and encourage visitors to the area by using events and markets to draw people down from Sandgate Road and up from the Old High Street.

"The high number of empty shops in Guildhall Street looks terrible for residents and visitors alike. It doesn't just blight that end of town, but also impacts Folkestone's ability to attract chains and bigger businesses as it makes it seem that business in Folkestone is slow, which isn't necessarily the case.

"Folkestone is a town full of creative, inspiring entrepreneurs. Our Council should be helping them achieve and create a thriving business environment."

Chani is keen to hear from local businesses what they would like to see to support bringing - and keeping - life back to Guildhall Street and other areas across Folkestone. Send your ideas to chani@folkestone-hythelibdems.org.uk - she's looking forward to hearing from you.