BRID’S FUTURE PLANS: Traders say regeneration ‘can’t come soon enough’

Richard and Kevin Barber, owners of KRP Carpets in Hilderthorpe Road, reflect on Bridlington's future.''Picture Richard Ponter 123517b
Richard and Kevin Barber, owners of KRP Carpets in Hilderthorpe Road, reflect on Bridlington's future.''Picture Richard Ponter 123517b

REGENERATION cannot come soon enough for businesses along Hilderthorpe Road, who say the uncertainty caused by the Area Action Plan has affected their trade.

Business owners have accused the council of letting the area fall into managed decline, which has caused further problems for a town which is already struggling with the effects of a recession.

However East Riding council say they have done their best to communicate with businesses while waiting for the AAP - which would see a new retail district known as Burlington Parade stretch down Hilderthorpe Road from a new Tesco at the coach park - to reach the planning stage.

But Kevin Barber, who has run KRP Carpets and Vinyls for nine years along with his son Richard, said that he has heard nothing from the council about their plans for Hilderthorpe Road and that uncertainty has hit him in the pocket.

“People won’t leave deposits because they say ‘you’re not going to be here’ - it seems nobody really knows what the plans are and it is making it difficult for us,” said Mr Barber.

“Where am I going to move to if they want to develop here? I measure and cut my carpets here because the building is big enough, but I don’t know where else would I go.

“They’ve left shops to close down, they haven’t tidied things up, I think they want the road to get run down to squeeze people’s business away so the council can just come in and do what they want.”

Mr Barber has questioned what role a business like his would play after any planned development.

“You’re going to get boutiques and fashion shops in, so there won’t be a place for a carpet business like mine. I don’t want to move but if I had to, I would need to know about it so I can start looking and planning for something else.”

Dave Kiddy, of The Bike Shop on Hilderthorpe Road, also says he has heard nothing about the plans from the council.

He said: “I think the plan being approved is good news for Bridlington, if it comes off, because the town needs something. But it hasn’t helped businesses on Hilderthorpe Road.”

However John Lister, head of Bridlington Renaissance, said that the council had tried to maintain regular contact.

He said: “We have sent letters on several occasions at all the stages of the Area Action Plan, to every property within the area of search within the town centre.

“These letters have to be addressed to ‘the occupier’ but we expect that most businesses pick those up. If anyone is still wanting to know more about what we are hoping to do, they should contact me.”

Ben Shaw, who has run Desperate Housewares on Hilderthorpe Road for around a year, said: “There are better things the council could have been spending their money on, like maintaining this road and doing up the shops and houses that they have already got.

“I know Brenda’s Blinds which was a good business for 20 years has closed, and the kitchen shop across from me was bought by the council and leased back. The uncertainty over what was going to happen meant that he left.

“What type of businesses are going to come in here? The town has lost big companies like McDonald’s and Burton over the past year or so, the only businesses doing well are pawn shops.

“Even if they build the new shop space down one side of the road, what are they going to be looking out on across the road?”