Get involved: Send pictures, video, news and views - text NEWS SHOPPER to 80360 or email us
Party's over for family-run Gravesend High Street shop after 15 years
THE party's over for a family-run Gravesend shop after nearly 15 years.
The Balloon Workshop in the High Street, which also houses Cake Bits, was owned by husband and wife couple Michael and Maureen Savell until it closed down yesterday.
The business started out as a 2,500 square foot Party People franchise in the St George’s Centre but later relocated to premises less than half the size in the High Street.
Mr Savell, 64, blamed competition from the internet and Gravesend’s parking policy for finishing off his shop.
The former accountant told News Shopper: "I think Gravesend was in recession two years before the rest of the country joined in and I can’t see anything that is going to bring it out especially in terms of retail.
"One thing the council could have done is not charged for parking on a Saturday and not put the prices up in the car parks as far as they have.
"When they started charging on a Saturday about two years ago our business dropped by about 30 per cent and it’s never recovered.
"You can park at Bluewater for free but you can’t wander round Gravesend for nothing: it costs a lot of money to wander round Gravesend."
The balloon workshop in Gravesend High Street is no more.
Maureen Savell, 61, who lives with her husband in Ivedon Road, Welling, added: "In another five years we won’t have a town centre here.
"Looking how it’s changed since we came here it makes you cry, it really does."
A Gravesham Council spokesman said: "Saturday car parking charges in council car parks were reintroduced in January 2012 after two years of free parking.
"There is no evidence that footfall in the town centre has changed as a result. Our charges remain among the lowest in Kent and parking remains free in the evenings and on Sundays.
"Throughout this period the privately owned shoppers’ car parks in the two shopping centres kept their charges and in one case have doubled them.
"It is a mistake to think of free car parking at Bluewater being an attraction since, for most people in Gravesham, the journey costs - seven miles each way from Gravesend town - outweigh the car parking fees.
"Both the town centre and Bluewater offer very different retail propositions."
- Five-fingered Welling cat gives family paws for thought after seven months on the run
- Blazing scene of a Gravesend sunset
- Trio on trial for perverting course of justice after Dartford takeaway manslaughter
- Abbey Wood De Lucy Primary School to be expanded in £3.5m scheme
- Fake workmen put up false signs and steal paving stones in Eynsford
Comments are closed on this article.