Traders band together to rejuvenate Hook shops
Concerned traders along Hook Parade have set up their own business community group following a fall in visitors and sales.
Over recent months the parade, also known as Arcade Parade, lost Natwest and a halal butchers, with a number of other shops also becoming empty along the Hook Road parade. The new business community group, which met for the first time last week, will meet every month to discuss concerns.
Steve McManus, 51, owner of butchers Surrey Premier Meats, said: “You have only got to look out there – there are no people. We need more footfall in the area and we need to generate more interest.”
The trader, who has owned the shop for a year, suggested a weekly street market and regular events to attract people and boost sales. He said: “The rents on these shops are very high so we need to get more business to make it viable.
“The council does not seem to realise the amount of rent it is charging is crippling businesses.”
Angela Stevenson has owned hairdressing shop Charisma for 30 years. She said: “Trade has been down in the past couple of years and much more in the past year.
“A few years ago we had Woolworths and the post office so more people came.
“I think we will be going soon. Rates just keep going up, shops keep closing.”
Chessington and Hook residents blamed the lack of parking at the parade for the number of visitors.
Resident Lorraine Rolfe posted in the south of the borough neighbourhood group page: “There is normally only parking available at the library, which we have to pay for.
“Would love to use more often but parking is a real problem there, especially in the mornings when the Tesco lorry arrives and no one can get anywhere.”
Another resident, Lisa Marie Barton, posted: “I am sure a lot of people have defected to Lidl. I have. Great bargains and free parking.”