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Stone businesses hit back at council criticism

By Stone Edition  |  Posted: June 22, 2014

  • STANDING UP FOR STONE...businesswoman Danita Irvine

  • STANDING UP FOR STONE...businesswoman Danita Irvine

  • STANDING UP FOR STONE...businesswoman Danita Irvine

  • DISTINCTIVE...Stone town centre.

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Councillors raised concerns about too many A-boards, cardboard boxes and clutter outside shops, and unkempt buildings detracting from the appearance of the town centre.

But Danita Irvine, owner of children's clothing and accessories shop Boo-tique, in Radford Street, said traders had been very upset by Councillor Mark Green's comparison of Stone with Beirut.

"We are all very sorry that a local councillor should have been so negative," Mrs Irvine said.

"Stone's independent traders are working together to maintain the town's distinctive character and make it an appealing place to visit.

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"We are doing our part to bring people in by organising all sorts of special events and we would like to see constructive support from councillors."

Mrs Irvine said businesses wanted to see a limit on the number of charity shops in the town - currently nine, with a 10th under consideration - and a reduction in rents charged by the town council to stallholders to help grow the town's market and make it a bigger attraction for visitors.

"I have lived in Stone for 17 years and I am passionate about making the town centre successful," Mrs Irvine added. "All the independent traders feel the same."

Stone town council leader Philip Jones said Councillor Green had been "carried away by his own rhetoric".

"Stone is a fine small market town, attracting thousands of visitors to its festivals, in which I know that Councillor Green plays a part," Councillor Jones said.

"It's just that the High Street is, in parts, let down by some traders who put out too many A boards, boxes of clutter on the pavement and don't repair the odd broken window.

"They are letting themselves down, along with the other responsible traders, and the town council will be reminding them of this."

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