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Bath indies join forces as building work hits trade

Independent retailers in Bath are up in arms at the building works in their city and have established a pressure group, the Bath Independent Group (BIG), in an attempt to make their voices heard.
Retailers in the area claim that a combination of disrup-tive building work and poor parking accessibility have hit independent trade, which has forced them to join together to take action under the lead of former Bath mayor Eric Snook.

BIG member Nigel Browne, owner of upmarket womenswear boutique AH Moda, based in the Milsom Place scheme, told Drapers that the development of a number of new retail sites had disrupted trade.

“Bath needs regeneration, but it is becoming more difficult to trade,” he said. “We are an upmarket boutique operating in a building site, and we have had to evacuate the shop on a number of occasions due to dust. A number of indies are trying to put pressure on the council to address issues with rates and parking.”

Browne welcomed the regeneration of the city, but added that many of his customers were opting to shop in Bristol or Exeter to avoid the disruption.

The lobby group gathered earlier this month for a meeting chaired by British Shops and Stores Association chief executive John Dean, who said: “Independent retailers are closing at an unprecedented rate as consumers migrate to out-of-town sites. This is due to poor access, expensive parking, business overheads and lack of investment in the public realm.”

Bath Council was unavailable for comment.

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