Traders unite to bridge the gap

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Michael Golder, owner of Bidford Hardware, told the Herald: “With the bad weather coming in November and December as well, it could finish a lot of us off.”

Some shops situated on the High Street have reported up to 25 per cent fewer customers than normal in

Bidford Bridge
Bidford Bridge

what should be one of the busiest times of the year, with many reporting a fall in takings in the months since the bridge closure compared to previous years.

This is a problem which has been compounded by the already low footfall in Bidford High Street, an issue which itself has been worsened by both the doctor’s surgery and the post office moving outside the village centre.

It is reported that many shoppers now bypass the village centre and its businesses.

Maxine Ballinger, owner of Meadow Lane Bakery on Bidford High Street, said: “Most of our custom comes from people from the other side of the bridge who live in villages like Welford-on-Avon, Barton and Bickmarsh.”

Mrs Ballinger thinks this may be because potential visitors to Bidford wrongly believe The Big Meadow, one of the major attractions which draws people to the village, is no longer accessible.

Bidford Parish Council have also suffered a loss in income from the bridge closure totalling four figures.

This is as a direct result of the reduced number of non-residents visiting The Big Meadow in Bidford and paying the car parking charge, one of the few sources of income for the council.

Now, with the prospect of the bridge work not being completed until Christmas, traders hope the newly-formed Chamber of Commerce and Trade will help address the problem — as well as other issues in the town. Patrick Marshall, owner of The Bridge restaurant and the group’s chairman, said: “Our main objective is to stimulate a community spirit and help local businesses.”

The group of 11 businesses are now in the final stages of planning their first event, a street party.

The Bidford Bridge Bash, on Sunday, 20th September, will include live music, food and entertainment where local businesses can showcase what they have to offer.

The event is being financially supported by Bidford Parish Council. Any other traders who would like to find out more about joining the chamber, is invited to contact Patrick Marshall at p.marshall1@btconnect.com

Photo Mark Williamson.  B1/1/15/1
Photo Mark Williamson. B1/1/15/1