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Retailers 'at the top of our list' says new cabinet member follow concerns about mini-Holland cycling scheme
Fears that a £30million cycling scheme will hurt the high street have been dismissed.
Councillor Alan Sitkin, who represents Bowes ward, is the new cabinet member for economic development and has told retailers that the mini-Holland scheme will not put high streets at risk.
In March, the scheme saw the council win £30 million from the Mayor of London Boris Johnson to improve cycling in Enfield.
But concerns had been raised by retailers that Enfield Town high street would be at risk as plans were made to bring in two-way traffic around Enfield Town and bus only access to Church Street.
The new cabinet member hopes to end fears of a lack of consultation and told the Enfield Independent that retailers were “at the top of the list” for consultation.
He said: “We were always going to consult with retailers, we want to have a good relationship with retailers and it is disingenuous to pretend we wouldn’t do that, they are at the top of our list and they are and we will.
“It will enrich our town centres, not impoverish them. A lot of people go to day-to-day shopping with their cycles across Europe so why not here.
“We don’t want passing trade to go down, that has never been our aim. I am not convinced that a few cycle lanes will see passing trade drop. The traffic in Church Street is through traffic, there are buses going through.”
He added: “We need to have rational debate, we will consult, we can solve this and we are intelligent people, why would we blow everything up?
“It is a work in progress, we want to have more cyclists. It was clear that we need to have a plan but it was made explicit that we would consult further.”
Cllr Sitkin said he is keen to improve high streets across Enfield and believes bringing attractions to the high streets will help business.
He said: “We are entirely focused on our high streets, we don’t want dormitory towns.”
“If people go to the high street solely to shop, they will go less often but if you turn it into larger experience where they come into the town centres for a multitude of reasons, then you have more chance of keeping high streets thriving.
“It seems to me a mistake to outsource non-commercial entities from shops, we need to bring culture back into the town.
“It is a shame to move the movie theatres out of town. We need shops and non-shops to give more reasons for people to come into town.”
Consultation on the mini-Holland scheme is due to take place in the coming months.
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