Southwold residents urged to say ‘no’ to national chains moving to the town

Michael Rowan-Robinson in Southwold. Photo: Bill Smith

Michael Rowan-Robinson in Southwold. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2013

Residents must be prepared to say a loud and clear “no” to national chains trying to set up shop in Southwold by confronting them and making it plain they are not wanted in the town.

That was the stark warning from Michael Rowan-Robinson, the chairman of the Southwold and Reydon Society, who said 2014-2015 had been a “frustrating year” with the loss of a number of independent stores.

The uniqueness of the town centre is a major concern for residents, who take pride in the fact Southwold does not look the same as many other town centres because it does not have as many chain stores.

But in his annual report to the Southwold and Reydon Society, Mr Rowan-Robinson said protecting the individuality of Southwold High Street remains a “major battleground” for the future, because landlords are increasing rents to levels that only national chains can afford.

He added at Tuesday’s meeting at Reydon Village Hall: “It is not easy for them (national chains) to survive through the winter unless local residents support them.

“I do think we should keep up the pressure and try and resist the desire of developers to make a quick buck and try to turn Southwold into a replica of every other high street.

“If it happens again and we’ve one of those chains we really don’t want, we’ve got to take the chain on.

“We’ve got to confront the company themselves on the fact the town doesn’t want them.”

Read the full story in today’s Southwold Journal.

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