Quay Street revamp 'has put my shop out of business'
9:20am Wednesday 2nd January 2013 in News
AN AMMANFORD newsagent says Carmarthenshire county council’s £1m revamp of Quay Street has helped put his shop out of business.
Gerald Thomas, who ran Arcade News Extra, says he was left with no option but to shut his Quay Street shop because of declining footfall and plunging revenue.
Speaking as he sadly surveyed the now-empty premises this week, Mr Thomas – who continues to run Arcade News in the Arcade – said: “Yes people don’t have any money, but the biggest single factor in this shop closing were those streetworks in Quay Street as far as I’m concerned.
“We opened in February and started building the business up quite nicely. By the summer our weekly takings were £400-500 – not exactly brilliant, but certainly enough to survive on, with the likelihood of things improving.
“But the Quay Street works hit us badly. Takings dropped below £200 and it got to the point where I just couldn’t afford to keep the place open any more. Our last day – Friday, November 30 – was our worst, despite the number of people attending the street market and everything.”
Mr Thomas, 43, maintains the modernisation of Ammanford bus station also had a negative impact.
“Customers were actually telling us they were planning to avoid Ammanford until the works were completed,”
he said. “Bus passengers simply weren’t given enough information about where to get on and where to get off – so they opted to give the town centre a miss as well.
“I think the future of Quay Street looks very bleak and that there will be a lot more closures in the future.”
Angela Phillips, secretary of Ammanford Chamber of Trade, said: “A lot of shops feel the regeneration of the town centre hasn’t helped them at all.”
A county council spokesman suggested that the shop’s closure was probably the result of difficult trading conditions.
“This is all a little confusing because the authority has worked with all the traders involved over the Quay Street development and they were all in agreement that the development was required to ensure their survival,” he added.
“To help meet their concerns we consulted widely and agreed to get the work completed before Christmas to reduce impact on trade generally and the responses we have had indicate that this was achieved.
“Traders have welcomed the £1million-plus Quay Street improvements that have been designed to ensure Ammanford’s future as a busy trading town.”