Leading councillor urges people to shop local to help town centre survive

A leading councillor has issued a heartfelt plea urging Dewsbury people to support town centre shops this Christmas.

Tuesday, 8th December 2020, 2:12 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th December 2020, 2:55 pm

Speaking after last week’s news that high street retailer WH Smith its quitting town, councillor Eric Firth said local shops and businesses needed a good Christmas to survive.

In a special message to Reporter Series readers, Mr Firth said: “I want to give a big thank you to all our retailers and business establishments who have survived this year against all the odds.

“This pandemic has been a disaster for us all for so many reasons but, in particular, for local businesses who haven’t known when they could open due to the massive confusion and mixed messages sent out by the Government.

Dewsbury Town Hall

“We are now in Tier 3 and just about everything is open, bar the hospitality trade, which has been particularly hard hit.

“They must be in despair though many are being really inventive in finding ways to trade, takeaways and click and collect to name but two, and for the many who have lost their jobs, my heartfelt commiserations.”

Coun Firth, also chairman of Dewsbury Forward, a group which promotes the town, added: “So many people depend on us using the shops and businesses, not just in the town centre but outside too.

“We must support them. We want and need them to survive and prosper. So many local jobs are dependant on us doing this.

Dewsbury East councillor Eric Firth

“That’s why my family and I will continue to shop in the town and in the market and I urge you to do the same. We must all pull together to help these local retailers.”

Coun Firth said with the start of the Dewsbury Blueprint regeneration and the opening of the Pioneer Higher Skills Centre in Northgate, the future was bright.

However, he said patience was needed and said: “I, like you, can’t wait to see the back of 2020.

“It’s been a horrible year for so many reasons but I look forward to working with anyone and everyone, not just Kirklees Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

Dewsbury Market and it is set to look

"Not just the Town Board and the Local Enterprise Partnership but local folk and the Chamber of Trade, who have many great ideas that can be included in the Dewsbury Blueprint.

“There are so many good things that are planned for the town, many of which have been put back because of the pandemic.

“But, trust me, they will happen. All I ask is patience. Dewsbury has a bright future and with your help we will get it right.”

Last week the Reporter revealed how WH Smith will close in April when its lease in the Princess of Wales Precinct expires.

The investment will see a revamp of business accommodation development with plans to improve Empire House