Reader letter: Focus on independant shops

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In response to Wesley Parkin and Dave Buttery, as I understand it, the planning application to convert the Shoezone shop from retail to café was not done under the name of Costa Coffee, so the objection that was made was to try and stop a large important retail space in Belper high street being lost, to become another coffee shop, something we are already spoilt with. If we keep losing retail space there will be little point in people coming in to town which won’t help anybody.

If it is Costa wanting to move into Belper then I think we do need to listen to our independent shops. I agree we need national stores, where would we be without Boots or the Co-op? But we should always prioritise our independents first, they are what make the Belper high street different and special (finalist in the GB High St competition). More importantly, every penny spent in a local independent store will stay in the local area (local suppliers and services such as accountants, decorators). As the Totally Locally message says, if everyone in Belper spent an additional £5 per week in an independent shop (rather than a national or internet retailer) it would bring an extra £5million into the local economy, every year.

-Ian Jackson