I've been spending time talking to shop owners in Boundary Road in Portslade. It's a high street that has suffered as investment into the centre of Brighton increasingly pulled trade away from the periphery of the city and competition from chains and supermarkets made competing as a small trader extremely difficult. In many ways it's been a perfect storm for traders in this part of town.
One such trader is Adele who owns Campers Paradise. She has had to cope with a decline in footfall and competition from the likes of Aldi. She told me about long hours and enormous amounts of work it takes to survive - I have huge admiration for her and the others I meet here.
I've spoken to larger retailers in the area and local prestige brands about how we as a community can make a difference in Boundary Road. I've also had a very encouraging set of contacts with community members in local neighbourhoods to see how we can incentivise a revival of Boundary Road. Public money is tight, but that shouldn't prevent a community from coming together to do what we can and I'm looking forward to working closely with local retailers like Adele to see how I can do more to offer support going forward. In the meantime, do stop by Campers Paradise if you're passing - it has great equipment for the beach and festival-going!
All the best, Peter