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[14 JUN 00] THE CHAMBER NEWS
Warning Over Future Of Bedworth Shopping 

Bedworth could soon become a 'ghost town' for shoppers unless urgent action is taken according to business leaders at the Chamber.

The grim warning has come in response to the Local Plan review for the town.

John King, chairman of The Chamber's North Warwickshire branch, said the town is in serious need of re-development.

He warned:

"Unless shopping facilities are really changed dramatically, Bedworth is seriously threatened as a shopping town.

Bedworth town centre was 'modernised' in the late 1960s and early 1970s but Mr King added:

"It is badly in need of redevelopment. It is not a competitive shopping environment and will not attract shoppers from outside the area."

Mr King expressed particular concern at the town's inability to attract young spenders or the 'more affluent older members' who often have more to spend on luxury items.

He said:

"Bedworth has to look to its strengths, and these may include developing a very high level of personal service and really good provision of local community services.

"Probably this is the only way it will survive in the future."

Mr King welcomed the proposed appointment of a town centre manager for Nuneaton and Bedworth.

"We have pushed hard for this, and we are delighted that an appointment is to be made soon.  We think that this will open new oppportunities for both Nuneaton and Bedworth.

"But the post could not have come at a more critical time in the light of the competitive challenges from neighbouring new shopping developments in Coventry, Tamworth and Sutton Coldfield."

Mr King also feels that the new Ropewalk development in Nuneaton "must exceed customer expectations."

He added:

"Shopping facilities should include many more choices for restaurant provision and the new 'cafe culture' which is becoming an increasingly vital feature in tomorrow's towns.

"The Borough must recognise the changing habits of shoppers, and recognise the need to encourage destination shoppers into the towns to purchase higher-priced niche products and services."
  

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CWN / Business / The Chamber / 14 Jun 00

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