Bakewell not the town it was

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The results also revealed that Bakewell traders were pessimistic about their town.

Out of 63 businesses who responded their biggest issues was car parking provision and its pricing structure.

One retailer said: “Parking remains the biggest issue and Bakewell needs a parking strategy that encourages visitors and locals to shop in the town.”

However the majority of traders supported the residents’ parking scheme.

A further issue raised by traders was the lack of shops on offer and the decline in the quality of retailers. Many said Bakewell has too many cafes, coffee shops and outdoor pursuits shops to attract regular shoppers to the town centre.

Business bosses also said there had been a slow and gradual decline in the quality of the Bakewell ‘town centre experience’. Bakewell independent traders do however consider that the town has a number of underlying strengths including its attractive Peak District setting and a strong tourist market.

They felt the town could promote itself much better and to support its strong tourist market through providing events especially around Christmas.

Over 52 per cent of businesses said they rely on tourism for more than 40 per cent of their turnover for the year. This figure rises to 70 per cent in the high season.

Twenty-two per cent of traders said they had been affected by Sainsbury’s opening in Matlock and all said the impact was negative.

The consultants recommend a review of car parking is needed and that the council looks at new ways of promoting the town.

Councillors are set to discuss ideas for producing a mini-guide for Bakewell to further promote the town centre as part of the existing mini-guide series.