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'Use us or lose us' warning about Marlow shops

A ‘use us or lose us’ warning has been issued by the president of the town’s chamber of commerce after a number of high profile shop closures.

In the past few weeks several shops in and around the town centre have closed down or announced they will be soon.

Craft Coop in Institute Road will close as soon and has cited a rise in business rates as the reason.

Costa Coffee has left its spot in Higginson Park and Huttons, in High Street, have announced they are closing down.

The Marlow and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce has about 100 members and president, Amiee Smith, said it was doing all it can to fight for their members.

It opposed the plans for pay and display parking in the town centre, which were scrapped by the county council last week.

Ms Smith said: “For us we never want to see shops in the town closing down.

“However we’re more than aware of the daily struggles of running a business.”

Ms Smith runs Celebrations Party Shop in Liston Court.

She said she was aware of the concerns of some businesses who have seen high business rate rises in the last few months.

“It’s going hand in hand with higher rents,” she said.

“It speaks volumes when the likes of Costa can’t handle it, how can anyone else?”

Ms Smith said Wycombe District Council had been providing some rate relief but that it was only temporary and urged all business owners to check what help may be available to them.

“I think central government should set rates on a case-by-case basis,” she said.

“I don’t think this blanket cover of areas is very good.

“And for customers I think the message is use us or lose us.”

UPDATE 6.23pm:

This article originally wrongly stated Hunts of Marlow, in Station Road, was closing down.

Its owner, Richard Hunt, has said that the 'colossal increase' in business rates would make things difficult but said he is determined to ‘carry on fighting’ and would have to delay his retirement to keep the store going.

We are happy to make this clear.

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