Loss of another shop outlet

PUBLISHED: 02:01 16 April 2008 | UPDATED: 21:42 15 June 2010

Just as I begun to believe East Devon District Council understood what people in Honiton want concerning shopping (rejecting Tesco's plan for a superstore 300 metres from the High Street), I find myself having second thoughts. In August, our town council

Just as I begun to believe East Devon District Council understood what people in Honiton want concerning shopping (rejecting Tesco's plan for a superstore 300 metres from the High Street), I find myself having second thoughts.In August, our town council said that whoever took over the site of the Martian CD/DVD store in Lace Walk it must be for a shop. Since the `martians' flew off into space, residents passing the large site waited for their new shop.Now we learn it is to be used as an office for financial advisors.Apparently, while we were occupied with the Tesco tale, EDDC quietly approved the business our council didn't want.The windows of the redecorated business tell me they can advise on "stocks and shares, bonds, gilts, unit trusts, life assurance, personal pensions" and, of course, planning!Don't we already have finance businesses in the High Street?It is time for residents interested in Honiton to start looking for people willing to help regenerate this historic, friendly and profitable town.Here's a thought... I have been told most of the shop sites in the High Street and New Street are owned by just half a dozen people or companies. If that's true, why don't they cut the rent they charge? Is the current rent too high, forcing small, independent shopkeepers, to put up signs reading "Sorry, goodbye" or "Closing down sale".Would some of these owners be prepared to tell me how much they charge for a small shop? And the owners of Lace Walk, who almost a year ago ignored my call for high gates to deny vandals using it as a meeting area and smashing windows, might go to their new tenant to get a quote for reduced insurance if they erect gates across the High Street entry; plus between M & S and the Co-op; and Woolworth and the Co-op. Perhaps they could then cut the smaller shops' rents.Tony SmithAshleigh Road Honiton


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