12:00PM, Friday 07 August 2020
Marlow’s high street is beginning to pick up once again but the community is still ‘nervous’, the president of the town’s Chamber of Commerce has said.
Lesley James added that she hopes to see a ‘confidence’ return to Marlow as retailers battle to stay afloat in choppy financial waters.
The chamber is in conversation with its members to come up with plans to support them post-COVID-19.
Informal discussion groups have been held and a questionnaire sent around to see what businesses want in their time of need.
Feedback found ‘significant financial concerns’, including a drop in custom-ers’ disposable income, their fear of catching the virus, and a possible recession.
Early ideas to help businesses survive include an ‘outdoor cafe culture’ to encourage more space and seating, and free parking at certain times of the day.
Ms James says that the chamber is in talks with both councils overseeing Marlow and hopes to get some plans in motion over the next month or two.
She said: “Marlow, at the weekends, is becoming very busy again really quickly, it is just trying to get the community involved. There are some ideas and conversations going on and they are going really positively. It is about how we can get businesses out in front of the consumer more pro-actively.
“There are some really nice businesses in the town and they do not deserve this – and we have to try and help them do their best.
“[Marlow] is open, but the community is still nervous.
“Some retailers who were doing exceptionally during lockdown are now suffering as others reopen.
“I would like to see people relaxed to be in Marlow, I would like confidence to be there in the community.
“The autumn is not soon enough for us to go back to normal, but I would just like to feel there is a light.”
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