A furious trader whose business was targeted for the fourth time this year says the council is doing little to help her prevent the shop from being vandalised.
Gayle Cosgrove, who runs independent store Cambridge & Co with daughter Amy, has shelled out thousands after vandals smashed her window, damaged the door and stole items from the shop this year. She has updated CCTV and had to pay for repairs but is at the end of her tether following a fourth attack this week, in which the window was left badly cracked.
The 45-year-old says the council is refusing to allow her to have shutters up because the shop is in a conservation area.
She added, “I feel totally let down by Eastbourne Borough Council.
“They [the shutters] are a no go, there’s no discussion. It’s ridiculous.”
Gayle, who opened the shop in Cornfield Road which sells British brands four years ago, says she wants sturdy shutters on the outside of the business to help tackle the problem and was willing to have tasteful ones that were only up during the hours of darkness.
She said a crime prevention officer from Sussex Police visited her this week, following the damage in the early hours of Tuesday morning, and said that she was doing everything possible to protect the business, apart from having shutters.
A spokesperson for Eastbourne Borough Council said it sympathised with traders who had been targeted by vandals and burglars, adding, “To protect the Victorian and Edwardian heritage of the centre of Eastbourne, the council is not willing to permit metal protruding external roller shutters on commercial premises in key conservation areas such as Cornfield Road.
“We feel that if every shop front had a roller shutter installed, it would significantly and detrimentally alter the appearance of the area.
“Traders are able to install shutters behind shop windows without planning permission, which act as a deterrent to break ins. Secure external wooden shutters can also be installed on shop fronts, which can carry branding and can be decorative. Wooden shutters would require planning permission.”
A Sussex Police spokesperson added, “We have given the owner crime prevention advice which she has followed and we are carrying out active enquiries to try to find those responsible for this latest incident and the burglaries.”