IN recessionary times it’s even more important to support local retailers: that’s the message being put forward by Alderman Allan Ewart and Lisburn City Centre Management as the run up to Christmas shopping gets underway.
The positive message comes at a time when local retailers face stiff competition and gloomy forecasts set the rate of closure on the UK High Street at 30 shops per day.
However, with a new Masterplan for Lisburn completed in 2011, and work scheduled to start in 2013 on a new public realm scheme – a £4.3 million investment in the city centre – it is hoped that the works will be a catalyst to improve footfall, encourage investment and improve the city’s image to visitors and the local community.
Lisburn is one of the largest cities in Northern Ireland with a strong history of independent retail and some of the bigger well-known names, have weathered the tough times; it’s also clear that new businesses are now vying for attention in the City Centre - from high end fashion boutiques, to gourmet delis.
The development of key shopping areas and a night time economy are fundamental to the regeneration of the City Centre and with the Christmas rush about to start, the message this year is shopping made easy and stress free.
Mr Ewart said: “We must support City Centre retailers to engage with their customers while continuing to offer the added value which can be provided by their continued high street presence.
“A vibrant City Centre is important to establishing a positive image of the city as a whole and I believe that with our strong will to succeed and the essential investment will create the vibrant positive forward looking City we all aspire to have.”
Patricia Elliot, Lisburn City Centre Management said: “LCCM works hard and imaginatively to continually attract shoppers and visitors into the City Centre through the organising of festival attractions, street animation, campaigning for free car parking initiatives, making the city a welcoming environment through the managing of a ranger service to tackle litter picking and graffiti and adding improvements to the city’s streetscape by managing the Bridge Street Townscape Heritage Initiative and championing the Public Realm scheme.”
John Steen President of the Lisburn Chamber of Commerce commented “I would encourage all of the community who live in the Lisburn area especially to support the local traders at this time. Lisburn is convenient and offers the opportunity for a good day’s shopping for all the family, with the chance to grab some seasonal offerings at one of the many cafes and restaurants across the city.
“We recognise that it’s been a difficult year for all, but our local retailers have remained loyal to the community in terms of providing a value for money and convenient local service. So please come along and enjoy the friendly and distinctive Lisburn experience.”
The Christmas period begins with the big Christmas switch on, Thursday, November 22, shining light on a more positive and prosperous period for City Centre retailers and shoppers alike.”