What can be done to help businesses in Ely? City of Ely Council launch survey to understand "challenges" shops face in city centre

PUBLISHED: 09:46 13 August 2018 | UPDATED: 09:46 13 August 2018

Ely High Street Passage

Ely High Street Passage

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A survey has been launched by council bosses to understand "challenges" that businesses face in Ely city centre amid claims of high rents and less shoppers.

Ely High StreetEly High Street

The questionnaire, which is currently being handed out in the city, aims to “better understand and document the current climate”.

“We always want to strive for better as a city so this will hopefully help us see what factors are affecting businesses and how we can make it easier for them,” Mayor of Ely Cllr Mike Rouse said.

The survey was born from an idea by four of Ely’s councillors including Cllr Rouse.

Councillor’s Lis Every, Elaine Griffin-Singh and Richard Hobbs also joined forces to get the message out.

New Oxfam shop in Ely. Photo: Mike RouseNew Oxfam shop in Ely. Photo: Mike Rouse

It comes as owners of popular High Street sweet shop Mr Simms announced they would be shutting their doors due to “business rates and fading footfall”.

The shop, which has won the heart of sweet lovers in the city, opened five years ago.

The survey focuses on business rates, commercial rents, wages, street cleanliness and how markets and special events effect trade on certain days.

It also questions whether the new Leisure Village development, The Hive and the closure of Paradise Pool have had impact on the area.

The survey has been handed out to all businesses in the city. Photo: SubmittedThe survey has been handed out to all businesses in the city. Photo: Submitted

The rise in online shopping is also questioned to whether it has had a negative effect on sales and orders over the last three years.

Set out over four pages, it is conducted by City of Ely Council and members of Ely East and North for East Cambs District Council.

Mayor Mike Rouse continued: “Business is a concern in the city and when I spoke after being made mayor, I did say I was worried about the vitality of the High Street.

“There are a lot of things that are out of our control.

Ely High Street Passage shops to throw street partyEly High Street Passage shops to throw street party

“But from this survey we want to find out what the factors are and how we can make it easier for small businesses.

“There has always been a turnover of businesses coming and going but if we get a response that addresses common issues and highlights areas of concern, then we can see if we can do something about it.

“We are doing well in context of most places but we want to get better.”

Ely has a mixture of independent shops with three market days a week.

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