Three long-standing Wisbech businesses are set to close but plans are underway to make the town centre a better place for shoppers.
Narboroughs, Randersons and The Wisbech Wool Shop are shutting up shop in the coming weeks and months. However, Chamber of Trade president Kevin Smith said things are “not as dire as they are sometimes made out to be”.
The Wisbech loyalty card is launching at the end of the month and businesses are steadily signing up. It will offer shoppers discounts or free items with businesses taking part.
A new card and gift shop – CardZone – has opened in the former Clarks store in the Horsefair and Costa has applied to turn the former O2 store into a cafe.
“We have to promote the town centre every way possible,” Mr Smith said. “The loyalty card scheme is unique for us in this area.”
The Wisbech Loyalty Card Scheme is being funded on a joint basis by the Horsefair Shopping Centre, Wisbech Town Council and Fenland District Council and is fully supported by the Wisbech & District Chamber of Commerce and aims to boost retail and footfall into Wisbech town centre.
Mr Smith believes doing something about the parking situation in the town will also make a difference. Although short-term car parking spaces were created in the Market Place and there is parking in the Horsefair, it is difficult to park in the large free car parks, particularly during the week.
Mr Smith said: “One of the things that lets us down is our short-term car parking. Now, more than ever, it is important to provide parking spaces for shoppers in our car parks.”
He said Fenland has been approached about the parking issue before, but they have not received an answer about whether it could happen.
A Fenland District Council spokesperson said: “The introduction of short- and long-stay bays or car parks is something that is suggested from time to time and has its merits. However, making it work effectively relies on appropriate regulation and enforcement being introduced and can be very time-consuming. It would also require significant extra resources.”
• For more information on how to join the loyalty card scheme, contact Stuart Hopkins of My Loyalty Card Ltd on 07794-222156 or email firstname.lastname@example.org