DCSIMG

Ringmer villagers call for empty shops to be filled

Chris Bowers (left) hands over the 325-signature petition to Malcolm Parnell of CHP Management in front of the now derelict former laundrette.

Chris Bowers (left) hands over the 325-signature petition to Malcolm Parnell of CHP Management in front of the now derelict former laundrette.

More than 300 shoppers have signed a petition calling for empty Ringmer shops to be filled.

The Marko’s greengrocer shop closed three years ago, along with the neighbouring launderette (pictured).

The shops have remained empty and have now had glass broken.

Alarmed at how long three of the shops have been empty, Ringmer district councillor Chris Bowers drafted a petition calling on the shopping precinct’s managing agents, CHP Management of London, to double their efforts to get tenants for the empty and derelict shops.

The petition, which had the support of the Ringmer shopkeepers’ association, acknowledged that CHP needed to make a profit, but called for greater recognition that the precinct is “part of the fabric of the community of Ringmer”.

It asked CHP to be as flexible as possible with rent levels to get the shops let.

More than 320 signatures were collected in June and July by Lib Dem volunteers.

The petition was presented by Cllr Bowers to Malcolm Parnell, of CHP Management, in Ringmer last week.

Cllr Bowers said: “Since we started collecting signatures, one of the empty shops has now been filled, and work has begun on tidying up the other two.

“So we’re making progress and we hope the other two properties will be let by the end of the year.

“It’s deeply unsettling to have empty shops for long periods, especially when windows get broken.”

CHP Management said it has a policy not to comment on any matters relating to its properties.

However, Cllr Bowers said CHP had told him complications with the old leases meant the company’s hands were tied until about a year ago.

It then had to rectify thousands of pounds worth of interior damage.

“They’re saying they hope to have the shops ready to show to potential tenants in a few weeks,” Cllr Bowers said.

“So with any luck we’ll have all the shops filled within three to six months.”

Ringmer’s MP Norman Baker added: “I’ve been on to CHP over many years to get a better deal for the Ringmer shopkeepers, as it’s vital that the precinct can thrive.

“The wording of this petition was eminently reasonable, and it deserves to succeed.”

Ringmer is one of the largest villages in the south of England and has had human habitation since at least Roman times.

Notable residents included British Prime Minister James Callaghan.

 

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