This press release has been distributed by Cllr Cathy Campos of Dartmouth Town Council to publicise Dartmouth’s support for the national Totally Locally Fiver Fest which will run from 15th – 29th February 2020. This scheme is intended to support our declining high streets across the country.
The Town Council are asking local independent businesses to participate by offering a special £5 offer during the Fiver Fest to show the diversity and value of what we have to offer in Dartmouth.
The world is changing and peoples shopping habits are changing. And this Christmas almost every national retailer declared a reduction in seasonal business to on line retailers. Those who come up with these schemes to push back the clock should back them with evidence that they have worked in other towns. In Totnes they didnt and they went so far as to issue their own local currency to promote high street business – the Totnes pound. And this too died a death. Dartmouth has always changed in the past and it is time to change again. And become a luxury tourist destination with 5 start hotels, cordon bleu restaurants, a yachting and rowing mecca and a helicopter pad. It doesnt matter if you disagree with this because it will happen whatever you do. Happy New Year
Brian, you are right in your assessment but the town will not flourish unless it promotes its status as an upmarket destination. There is nothing wrong with your description of the future as it will at least support the businesses in the town long term (provided the businesses adapt to change). The mistake we often make is putting the decline in footfall down to the general decline in retail across the country, but that is wrong. We are a tourist destination and the retailers will benefit if we succeed in promoting the town to the right target market. Locals may not agree but without the visitors pounds the towns economy will slowly decline and so will the youthful population in the town.
The Corvid virus has given false hope that when the vaccines are available, then lockdown will cease and the day tripper tourist footfall will come back. I think this is unlikely and High Street shopping in Dartmouth will never be the same again. This Christmas most families will be doing their festive shopping on the Internet and the Internet is never going to go away. But this sort of fundamental change is not new to Dartmouth and in the past it has shrugged its shoulders and moved on. Just consider the history of our remarkable town and hand on heart say it will be a tourist retail outlet forever ! I think not and it is time to move on to something new. The pointers are to a luxury tourist destination with 5 star hotels, cordon bleu restaurants, a yachting and rowing mecca,a helicopter pad, links with Dartmout Massachussettes and many more wealthy Amdericans visiting us. To help acheive this the Mayflower 400 celebrations must somehow be rescued and the Town Council must send more invitations to visit us to its sister council in the USA. As for daytrippers from London and the Midlands, these are not going to save the old Dartmouth High Street from Bancrupcy. And if you want a glimpse of a new Dartmouth which can prosper, try La Rochelle in Brittany
You are right Brian that the face of retail is changed forever and expecting it to recover on its own is wrong. However I have always said we must promote Dartmouth as an upmarket destination for discerning visitors who like good food, nice eateries and galleries (sorry but its true). Attracting high spenders will support other businesses in the town as a side benefit. One thing that is certain in retail, and in business as a whole actually, Change is constant. The business that does not change with the changing patterns of the economy is going to be lost eventually. Look at how the pubs and eateries have adapted to the lockdown with take away,s and deliveries of meals. However not every business has done this which illustrates my point above.
Its good to agree with you Paul. Can we have updates about the luxury hotel development at Noss on Dart and whether it will have a helicopter link to Exeter airport and a ferry service to Dartmouth. Also whether Mayflower 400 is to be rerun in 2021 and whether the Town Council has invited Dartmouth Massachusetts here again ? And I would make enquiries to twin Dartmouth with a new sister town in La Rochelle.If only we could become like la Rochelle the boom times would come to Dartmouth again