Ranil Jayawardena, MP for North East Hampshire, has encouraged people in Hook and Fleet to join him in showing support for the village centre by shopping locally for High Street Saturday on 16th March.
High Street Saturday, a new campaign day, aims to celebrate the place of high streets and village centres at the heart of communities like Hook and Fleet across the country. As part of the day, local people are being encouraged to:
- Pledge to shop locally on High Street Saturday
- Share photos and messages online using #HighStreetSaturday
- Encourage local councils to make good use of the Future High Street Fund, provided by the Government to make high streets and town centres fit for the future.
High streets and village centres have long been a place to bring communities together, a place for residents to access vital services and a place for businesses to thrive. But the Government recognises that it is becoming harder for businesses on high streets across the country to compete with out-of-town shopping centres and online retailers. That’s why the Conservatives in government have:
- Delivered over £10 billion of business rates support since 2016, including cutting small retailers’ bills by a third.
- Backed community leaders with £675 million of funding to help modernise their high streets and town centres.
High Street Saturday is a chance for shoppers to come together to celebrate and support the high streets and village centres at the heart of their local communities.
Commenting, Mr Jayawardena said:
“Village centres like those in Hook and Fleet are instrumental in bringing people together – acting as a meeting place for friends and families and long supporting jobs for local people.
“But, as the retail market changes, I am encouraging people across Hook and Fleet to join me and Conservatives across the country on 16th March in pledging to shop locally to support the independent businesses we all know and love.
“The Conservatives in Government are determined to support our high streets by taking action on business rates, supporting high streets to modernise and helping to transform empty shops into new homes.”
Commenting, Jenny Copeland of Hartletts Café of Ravenscroft, Hook, said:
“More people are shopping online and out of town, and that does affect footfall on the high street and around the village, but support on business rates has definitely been a help for us.
“It’s brilliant to see that the Government is prioritising small business and encouraging people to shop locally. I look forward to welcoming people on 16th March!”
Commenting, Emma Molyneux, Chair of the Fleet Business Improvement District (BID) said:
“The challenges facing the high street are well documented and retailers in Fleet tell us that online and out-of-town shopping, business rates and parking are the three biggest challenges they face.
“In Fleet, in addition to our independent retailers we also have a thriving night time economy with independent restaurants and bars and are starting to see different business move into the town centre, reflecting the changing nature of the High Street but more can still be done to support local businesses.
“Local people feel passionately about Fleet and the wonderful independent businesses we have here and we welcome campaigns to encourage people to support their local town.”