Opportunity missed to help local traders

WITH regard to the article in last week’s Spenborough Guardian (We’re sow good at gardening) reporting on the discussions at the Spen Valley Area Committee, I am writing to say how disappointed I am that an opportunity was missed to encourage more people to support local businesses.

In particular, the project encouraging more people to grow their own vegetables is not very helpful for traditional greengrocers such as myself.

Just under 700 people in Cleckheaton growing their own and more wanted? Has the Council’s markets team even considered the impact this may have? Were all these people previously shopping at supermarkets only?

Where will they go to buy produce they can’t grow themselves? Farmers’ markets and farm shops affect trade for greengrocers, butchers and confectioners, especially as their overheads are a tiny proportion of those experienced by town centre retailers like myself, and so competition is imbalanced.

A comment reported was that ‘money is tight for many people’ - this is true but people can buy small amounts of great quality fruit and vegetables from shops such as mine, so that there is less waste and even prices are often comparable with supermarkets. The Growing Together scheme may well be worthwhile and to be encouraged but I feel it should complement work to encourage more local shopping - times are tough for retailers too and support from local councillors would be helpful.

PENNY HUDSON

The Cabbage Patch

CLECKHEATON