NORTHWICH small business owners have called for the issues affecting their trade to be addressed.

The issues in question were raised by Gaynor Sinar, founder of the Northwich Independent Retailers Association, on behalf of traders during this month’s town council meeting.

Retailers in particular raised concerns over the fact that out-of-town businesses were being given preference over local traders at Northwich Artisan Market.

At the council meeting, Gaynor said: “I know of one Northwich retailer who was refused a stall at the market in favour of an out-of-town business, when there was clearly room for them both.

“By doing this, trade from local businesses who pay rent and keep local people in jobs is being lost.

“We do not want to be critical about the artisan market as it is great and brings people into the town, but a slight preference should be given to local businesses.”

Retailers also highlighted the need for better communication between Cheshire West and Chester Council and small businesses in Weaver Square.

“We would like the same courtesy that we give to the council when we wish to make changes to our shops to be given to us when the council want to make changes,” Gaynor continued on behalf of traders.

“Retailers are given little notice when anything is happening and normally find out about and new developments to Weaver Square from the general public.”

Another issue raised is the impact of free parking at Barons Quay, which entices shoppers to stay in the complex rather than visit independent businesses.

“The free parking is great, but it is affecting independent coffee retailers in particular, as shoppers are visiting Costa rather than some of the great smaller stores run by local people.”

In response, Sam Naylor, Witton councillor for both Cheshire West and Chester and Northwich Town Council, said: “It is vital that we listen to retailers and try to provide investment in the town which will work for businesses

“Northwich is a town on the up and we need to ensure that people know that it is open for business and continues to thrive.

“We have listened to retailers’ concerns and have took them on board.

“As chair of the Northwich regeneration forum, I go to regular Northwich Independent Trader Association meetings and visit local businesses to see how things are going.

“Cheshire West and Chester is a responsive council who listen to shop owners and my door is always open for any retailers who wish to discuss any concerns with me.”