Letter to the KM
It is hardly surprising that Maidstone has once again been labeled a Clone Town by the New Economics Foundation. While there are a good selection of independents away from Week St and Fremlin Walk, these two main shopping areas are simply overflowing with the chain stores that are the staples of many large towns.
There is a real problem with this. While the large corporate stores do attract shoppers to the town they also damage local businesses and the local economy. Money spent in any chain store quickly leaves the local economy whereas buying from independent shops ensures that more money is circulated locally supporting other local businesses and people.
Out of town, the damage is even worse. Opening an average out of town supermarket causes a net loss of 276 jobs and we have all seen the devastation to our local post offices in the past few years.
Maidstone needs more independent shops in its main shopping areas. Getting the balance right is essential. Rather than the filling these areas with mobile phone shops and carbon copy clothes shops, some variety would give real charm to the town. I have to ask how many Next stores or Waterstones does a town really need?
Bringing more independent stores to the main shopping areas would prove to be a real asset to Maidstone. The character and tone of the town would be drastically improved and the benefit to the people and Maidstone based businesses would be huge.
Maidstone Green Party