'Too many charity shops' in genteel town
A SHOPPING area once dubbed the Bond Street of East Anglia is being blighted by too many charity shops, a business leader has claimed.Shopkeepers trading on Frinton-on-Sea's genteel Connaught Avenue want to pave the way for a vibrant and upmarket future for the street – but are divided over the way forward.
A SHOPPING area once dubbed the Bond Street of East Anglia is being blighted by too many charity shops, a business leader has claimed.
Shopkeepers trading on Frinton-on-Sea's genteel Connaught Avenue want to pave the way for a vibrant and upmarket future for the street - but are divided over the way forward.
Rosie De Koff, chairman of the Frinton Chamber of Commerce, said yesterday she was convinced charity shops were a blight on the street, even discouraging smart shoppers from coming into the town.
She said: "Charity shops attract the wrong kind of people. Why do we need five in Frinton when other businesses could be coming in?
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"I know of a lot of people who went for those shops, desperate to get into Connaught Avenue.
"We need nice retail outlets. One nice shop complements another, and nice shops want to be located next to each other."
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Ms De Koff blamed landlords and their agents who controlled the commercial letting market in the area and preferential taxation of charitable businesses.
"Charity shops don't pay rates. Councils have got to get the business rates from somewhere so they whack ours' up."
However, Gillian Sanford, chairman of the Frinton Residents' Association, was disheartened by the loss of a number of small retailers from the town and their services to residents and visitors alike.
She said: "It's the takeover for other purposes of the sort of shops you have in a town like Frinton. We've enough banks, estate agents and building societies. If we're not careful, we'll be taken over by offices.
"It used to be called the Bond Street of East Anglia, but it's better to have charity shops than empty shops."
But Terry Allen, Tendring district and Frinton town councillor, had only praise for the town's high-class charity shops, unique in offering some incredible designer bargains.
He said: "Our charity shops are not normal junk shops - they're top of the market. Where else can you get Bruce Oldfield dresses at bargain prices?"
David Foster, another member of the chamber of commerce, was also convinced that trade in Frinton was booming and a few charity shops could not harm that.
"It's a very healthy and thriving town," he said. "A lot of shops are run by people who've been here 20, 30 or 40 years. It's the place to be.
"We've lists of people looking for units all the time. And Oxfam's a proper shop in its own right."
David Irwin, owner of Trowbridge Estate Agents on Connaught Avenue, said: "There's no more charity shops than the normal pattern of things. It's the way things are on all high streets."