No Open boost for town traders

John Cotton at Sports Legends, The Crescent, St Annes.
John Cotton at Sports Legends, The Crescent, St Annes.
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TRADERS have slammed “diabolical” arrangements made during The Open golf championship which they claim caused them to lose custom.

A number of businesses say takings were down during the week of the prestigious golf tournament, despite assurances they would benefit from the increase in visitors.

John Cotton, who co-owns the Sports Legend sporting memorabilia shop, on The Crescent, St Annes, estimates he lost between £5,000 and £10,000 after investing in golf memorabilia which went unsold.

He said: “We were sold down the river by the council, it was absolutely diabolical.

“The local people weren’t coming out and the only people who made money were restaurants.”

His business partner, former Lancashire and England cricketer Ian Austin, added opening the shop during the tournament had been “a complete waste of time”,

Ann Healey, of Margarets Florists, on Wood Street, says lack of footfall from St Annes residents due to traffic restrictions also affected businesses in the area.

She said: “You couldn’t get in to do your shopping.

“I don’t think the golf did anything for anyone, for local businesses it was absolutely dire. It was one of the quietest weeks we ever had.”

Graham Hadley, manager at Discount Ink Cartridges, St Annes, told the Gazette takings for the Friday of the tournament were down between 70 and 80 per cent.

However, Shirley Haslam, of Mica Hardware, on St Albans Road, feels the tournament proved detrimental to her business but traders should have expected it.

She said: “There’s not a lot we can do, anything that brings attention to our town is a good thing.”

Coun Sue Fazackerley, Fylde Council’s cabinet member for leisure and tourism, said: “It’s unfortunate if some of the St Annes businesses didn’t do as well as they’d hoped.

“We had hoped people would come out at lunchtime into the town centre but that didn’t seem to happen, you can’t force people to go into town.

“I’ve been in several shops where I’ve had a hard time but not a single person has given me any constructive advice.

“If they do have some I’d be happy to hear from them.”

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