Sunday, 19 September 2010

Clone Town Survey - Maidstone

Letter to the KM

Dear Editor,

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.

Stuart Jeffery
Maidstone Green Party


weggis said...

Hi Stuart,
I've taken a quote from your earlier post.

"And while some of the old fashioned left / right thinking has moved on, many of the principles of the left remain..

So, how do "left" greens reconcile their "anti-capitalist" or "anti free market" principles with the need for more local "independent" entreprenuers to revitalise our local economies?

Stuart Jeffery said...

Hi Alan,

Derek Wall deals with this quite well in Babylon and Beyond but in essence, localism is about ensuring that some of the big corporate monsters are replaced with smaller locally based shops.

Ensuring that a local market has priority over a wider one where the big companies take over is not promoting a free market but ensuring a fairer one.