Burnham-On-Sea town centre shops experienced a positive fortnight of trade in the run-up to Christmas, but many businesses say free parking for shoppers should be extended to cover more days of December in 2019.
Burnham-On-Sea.com has spoken to several small businesses across the town centre to gather feedback on how trade was during the crucial festive shopping season.
Colin Morris at GW Hurleys said: “Trade was steady, but down on last Christmas. Parking charges need to be removed in Burnham for the whole of December next Christmas. It’s poor that Sedgemoor District Council gives us free parking on just two Saturdays when the town centre has to compete against the non-stop free parking offered by the malls and supermarkets.”
“It’s short-sighted of the council because they will ultimately lose out on business rates income when shops close.”
But fishmonger Ryan Mount at Seafoods said: “The final weeks of December were really busy for us. Shoppers come to us at Christmas for fresh poultry and fish – and we had our busiest week of the whole year. The Christmas week was definitely busier than last year. ”
Sweet Shack’s Lyn Lawrence added: “We held our own this Christmas and had a positive 2018 overall. I am hoping for good things for Burnham town centre in 2019 – it’s positive to see several new restaurants opening recently that will bring more people into the town centre.”
Gary Stacey at Johns Shop added: “We had a good December – the last week and a half was especially busy with plenty of shoppers coming in for last-minute gifts. Free parking for more days of December to encourage shoppers into Burnham would be a good idea – parking is always an issue.”
A Burnham Goldsmiths spokeswoman added: “The last week before Christmas was busy and the month as a whole was good overall.”
Carol Jones at Bastins told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “It was busy at times, but it wasn’t an exceptional month for us. The last week before Christmas was good.”
A spokeswoman at Sentiments card shop added: “The final fortnight leading up to Christmas was really busy and the rest of the month was good too – we are quite pleased with our first year as the shop’s new owners and thank customers for their support.”
Phil Hemming at Home Hardware said: “December was quite good for us overall. That said, we would like to see the free Christmas parking in Burnham extended to cover at least all of the shopping weekends in 2019.”