Why not canvass the shop owners?

A LOCAL businessman has reacted angrily to claims he criticised sitting councillors for not showing enough interest in Arbroath High Street.

Chic Grant, of Outdoor Action Scotland, had been accused of suggesting that election candidates standing in Arbroath in the council elections weren’t addressing the issues facing the centre of town.

But Mr Grant says he was merely pointing out that in the run-up to yesterday’s (Thursday) vote, he had only seen one candidate in his shop ahead of polling day.

And he added that as a member of the Town Centre Regeneration Group, he knows how much work elected members put into the group.

He told the Herald: “I was highlighting the fact that I did not know of any of the election candidates canvassing round the shops, especially those seeking election for the first time.

“We, who are fortunate enough to be at work all day, do not meet those candidates on the stump around the houses so why do they not bother to go into the shops?

“It is all very well handing out balloons and stickers in the High Street but why not go that extra little bit and venture into the independently owned shops.

“Speak to those who live in the town, listen to their concerns about the High Street or the town as a whole, even the customers will chip in as Donald Morrison found out when visiting my shop.

“I was not criticising sitting councillors.”

In recent weeks, the Herald has reported on what can be done to give the town centre a boost with some blaming high business rates as a problem.

But Mr Grant believes the rents charged by property owners are a much bigger issue, not rates as reported elsewhere.

He added: “I also stressed that rates were not the issue here but that the high rents were.

“Some of the rents being charged in Arbroath are quite high and are prohibitive for most wanting to start a business”