Calls for return of free parking and new signage

S01679H14 Charges should be removed at Southwick Square car park, say residents and traders
S01679H14 Charges should be removed at Southwick Square car park, say residents and traders

CLEAR signs, parking concessions and more events are needed to give Southwick Square a boost, a public meeting decided.

Residents and traders packed into The Cricketers last Thursday to air their views.

Butcher John Burtenshaw, who organised the meeting, said there was ‘a fantastic turnout’. He added: “It is quite overwhelming, the support from the community.

“We are here to voice our concerns about Southwick Square and its future. It seems to be forgotten.

“We need to look at ways we can work together as a unit to pick it up and make it look bright again, so people come to the square and see how pretty it looks.”

The joint owner of Southwick Square Meats, he highlighted problems with weeds and rubbish and said it was generally looking drab.

People called for a sign saying ‘Southwick Square Shopping Centre’, new flower beds and hanging baskets.

There were also calls for free parking to encourage people to come to the shops.

Dogs Trust manager Stuart Parker Green, who came to the square in June, said: “We are a new trader in the square and I am concerned about the footfall. You have got great shops, everything is here, but there is no signage. When you come in by train or bus, there is nothing to say there are all these independent shops here. It needs more attention.”

Trevor Bolton said he had lived in the town for 14 years and it had gone downhill in that time. “It is quite obvious that people feel very strongly about it. They don’t want to talk about it, they want action,” he added.

“Traders will know that if we don’t get it right, and quickly, that when Morrisons and Lidl open in Shoreham there will be further leakage of trade.”

Mr Burtenshaw said when Tesco opened at the Holmbush Shopping Centre, 35 per cent of trade was wiped out.

Some people spoke of the need for ‘civic pride’ and Ena Barr, of Croft Avenue, highlighted work volunteers already do.

“At the bottom of Croft Avenue, my road, we have had the garden renovated and it is a joy,” she said.

“The inspiration for that garden renovation came from must two or three people, who got together, which was wonderful.

“Southwick Community Centre volunteers look after their garden, too.”