SHIRLEY traders say they feel ‘let down’ by the ‘deteriorating state’ of their high street.
Speaking to the Solihull News this week, businesses said more needs to be done to attract shoppers to the ailing town centre.
Building work for the new regeneration scheme earmarked for the area, Parkgate, is due to begin in May. The scheme will include a new Asda supermarket, other retailers and apartments.
Praful Patel, who runs Barry’s Newsagents, said: “Times are hard and business is slow. Part of this is down to the recession but I think a lot more could be done to attract more people to the High Street.
“The new Parkgate development will only detract more people from the High Street. We don’t need any more supermarkets and we certainly don’t need the council starting to charge us for parking in Shirley.
“There are also shops closing left, right and centre. This is not going to encourage people to shop here.”
Whartons of Shirley has been on the Stratford Road for 27 years. Director Ricky Wharton said he has watched the area slowly decline.
He added: “I would say, in the last five years, the area has deteriorated. It is difficult to put your finger on what has happened or why it has happened but Shirley High Street is just not what it used to be.
“Sadly, I think it’s the quality of shops. It’s fine having independent stores but they have to be attractive to people.
“I think we have also allowed too many charity shops onto the High Street.
“I suppose you could say we have been forgotten somewhat. We are not a Solihull and we never will be, but I think this new development will be good for the area.”
Another trader, who asked not to be named, said: “The rates are just too high for smaller shops to survive on the High Street, which is why a lot of the independent stores have closed.”