Hopes are high for the future of Emsworth town centre

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Business leaders in Emsworth are looking to energise the town’s appeal to visitors in the wake of tough trading conditions.

Although not at crisis point, businesses in the town have noticed a drop in trading that they feel could be improved upon.

A number of ideas have been discussed among traders which they feel could bring people back into the town, which prides itself on being home to traditional independent shops.

Chairman of Emsworth Business Association Carol Haskett called an informal meeting where the situation was discussed.

She said: “It was actually quite a positive meeting, it was quite the opposite of what we thought it would be – we thought nobody would turn up.”

She added the town would benefit if more traders were to open on a Sunday, but that idea may not be viable for independent retailers.

The ideas included: targeting OAPs on a specific day of the week with discounts, and combining it with a free bus service to get them into the town and home again; a shared home delivery scheme for those who can’t get into the shops; or the introduction of loyalty card schemes, which have enjoyed success in Haslemere in Surrey.

One project which proved popular in the past was the town map and guide showing points of interest.

There will be 25,000 printed and sent out to tourists spots across the area and neighbouring counties.

Emsworth councillor and former EBA chairman Brendan Gibb-Gray said it was important the town kept its main services and good reputation for customer service.

“What we are trying to do is keep the core services here, like the banks, doctors, pharmacies, pubs and cafes,” he said.

The business association is also to be the recipient of the Co-op card scheme which could see them receive up to £10,000.

It means that 3p of every £1 spent in the store by customers with loyalty cards before June 9 next year goes to the EBA.

The Emsworth Pastoral Centre will be the second recipient of the scheme.

If you have an idea which you think could breathe new life into the town’s businesses email Carol Haskett at carol@gcscomputers..uk, or call 01243 374126.