HAVING weathered several Government mandated lockdowns, a cost of livng crisis and the wider move away from high street shopping by consumers, a Newton Abbot carpet shop is to shut its doors as a result of a council redevelopment scheme.
Low Cost Carpets, a familiar sight on Queen Street for more than 20 years, is to vacate its town centre premises within the month, though owner Martin West stresses he will still be trading.
This decision came after the South Devon Alliance (SDA) went about the town distributing a poster, which has been adopted by several businesses, to ‘Save Queen Street’.
An associated Facebook group was also started by the SDA, and already boasts more than 600 members.
It was within this group that Martin announced he would be leaving Queen Street.
He said: ‘Times have been hard and even though my business has survived Covid and up to now the cost of living crisis, I genuinely know it won’t survive this.
‘I have informed the owner that I am leaving Queen Street.
‘I will continue to trade but there will be another empty shop on Queen Street,’ he added.
Martin’s announcement was met with dismay by several people.
‘That’s sad to hear honestly and I doubt very much that you will be the only people who make that decision’ one comment read.
‘Sad news. Used you a few times. Great fitter and reasonably priced’ read another.
South Devon Alliance member for College Ward, Councillor Janet Bradford, said:‘I have consistently voted against the plans for Queen Street.
‘The reason being, that when they were first raised, my inbox was full of emails from concerned business owners and residents.
‘They are still voicing their concerns and yet we are the only ones listening.
‘Nothing has changed! It is ridiculous and totally undemocratic that others have voted this through. What on earth are they thinking?
‘The majority of the community think it is a ludicrous plan – it should be shelved now, before anymore damage is done.’
BBC Spotlight could be spotted in Newton Abbot on Tuesday, October 10, covering the ongoing situation regarding Queen Street, with councillors Richard Daws and Alex Hall of the SDA, leader of TDC, Cllr Martin Wrigley, and Cllr Phil Bullivant being interviewed.
Additional contributions from some retailers were also included.
Elsewhere, the South Devon Alliance has presented Teignbridge District Council with a motion at an upcoming meeting of full council on Tuesday, October 17.
The motion calls for TDC to ‘park the project plan for the street and, as a matter of urgency, enter full and meaningful “face to face” consultation involving meeting, listening to and acting on the concerns of all retailers and residents directly affected by the proposed plans’.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said:’We want town centres to be safer and healthier for people to walk around and enjoy, and this scheme will create a much-enhanced environment in this part of Newton Abbot town centre.
‘Reducing the amount of through traffic will improve air quality and by providing more space and better crossing areas, shoppers will be able to make the most of the businesses and facilities in Queen Street.’