My thanks to a 'Strife Team' member for pictures and information from Broadstairs gathered in the sunshine yesterday. Here is his report:
Despair hits the High Street, Broadstairs again as the third lot of roadworks makes the lower High Street inaccessible to all bar pedestrians. and even then they have to pick their way cautiously round the roadworks. Local traders described the current situation as 'desperate' as footfall has dropped dramatically.
The 56 bus has had to be re-routed cutting off those who need it most from accessing this lifeline. Drivers are confronted with 'Shop Local First'signs but have no idea where to park due to confusing 'Road closed' signs.
Readers might remember that last summer three local businessmen had tables in among the barricades while they enjoyed an al fresco lunchbreak to highlight their catastrophic situation.
The puzzling factor is the current lot of roadworks are undoing what was done last year to re-do the junction with Queen's Road. Bus stops have been resited meaning the elderly have further to go to get to a bus stop.
How many local traders can survive this third disruption to their livelihood? Will the individual shops filling a local need still be there come the summer?
I just wonder if Westwood Cross businesses would tolerate this same level of disruption to their business that Broadstairs traders have had to suffer in the past 12 months? I doubt it. Local businesses in our Town Centres are struggling against all the odds; double yellow lines; extortionate TDC car parking meters; inadequate parking; key chains legging it (to Westwood X) or failing and all the time TDC has some warped vision of Westwood Cross being its fourth and 'main' town centre. It is private property, a windswept and mediocre 'mall' that even puts its 'gorillas' onto a local citizen to stop him photographing. Do our Councillors really support their local businesses (who are also, in the main, their electorate) or is the reality that ' grandiose visions' are more important?