An association of indies in Rochdale is lobbying the council for funding to attract more indies to the area and boost footfall.
Retail in Rochdale was particularly badly hit by the recession, with several units still stood empty in the town centre following store closures.
Rochdale council has a plan for development and has implemented schemes to tempt multiples back to the town, which it hopes will recapture shoppers who have deserted Rochdale for nearby Bury and Manchester. However, the plans are not due to commence until 2012, leaving many indies worried about trade in the shorter term.
Paul Turner-Mitchell, owner of women’s young fashion indie 25 Ten, was voted in as chairman of Voice of Rochdale Independents (VRI) this month. Top of his agenda is securing funding to provide relief on rents and business rates to tempt new indies to the town.
VRI is about to approach business development company Rochdale Town Centre Management to lobby for representation on its board of directors. Turner-Mitchell said: “Helping indies is on the council’s agenda but we are not represented, which seems stupid.”
He is now in talks with the council and thinks more towns should work together. “As a collective you have a far stronger voice.”
VRI, which has 20 indie retail members, holds a monthly meeting to discuss its agenda.