'Enough is enough' claim as 11th charity shop arrives

PUBLISHED: 09:21 19 March 2008 | UPDATED: 21:37 15 June 2010

AS an eleventh charity shop prepares to open in Honiton, traders have voiced their concerns that the integrity of the town centre is being compromised.

AS an eleventh charity shop prepares to open in Honiton, traders have voiced their concerns that the integrity of the town centre is being compromised.Honiton Town Council has pledged to put the issue on the agenda of a forthcoming meeting.Peter Corke, secretary of Honiton and District Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has complained about the rising number of charity shops operating in Honiton.He spoke out during the town's annual meeting on Monday night.Addressing town councillors in the Senior Citizens' Centre, following the launch of the council's annual report, he said the chamber was concerned that yet another charity shop was due to open - again in High Street."I hardly think tourists are going to be coming by the bus-load to see 11 charity shops in Honiton," he said."I've got nothing against charity shops, per say, but we've got enough in Honiton."Rumours that premises formerly occupied by Fogarty's bookshop were to be taken by a charity swept the town as Honiton's tenth charity shop, operated by the Devon Air Ambulance Trust, opened in a former newsagent's.Traders, including an antique dealer, have written to the Herald to voice their concerns about more and more charity shops taking prime retail units in the town centre.They fear charities are the only organisations able to afford high rents - because they benefit from an 80 per cent reduction in business rates.Lesley Phillips, of The Grove Antiques Centre, has told local MPs in a letter: "Honiton High Street has had the reputation for individual, owner-run shops and draws visitors for that very reason, but in the last 10 years we have witnessed their slow decline."The latest casualty, our book shop, in a prime trading position, is to re-open as yet another charity shop, making a total of 11 in a town with a population of 13,000."Another charity shop is relocating to the High Street."With few overheads, it is hardly surprising they can afford to take up another town centre prime trading position."Charity shops selling new goods should be subject to the same rate charges as other business, traders have told the Herald, claiming charities are operating with an unfair advantage.

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