Seaford: Professionals aim to draw crowds

PEDESTRIANISING part of Broad Street and putting Seaford on the map were on the agenda as members of the town’s business community got together.

Around 70 people turned out for the meeting which was organised by Councillor Paul Franklin in conjunction with Seaford Town Council last Tuesday.

Comments from everything about signage, the lack of accommodation in the town, Christmas Late Night Shopping and parking were some of the issues highlighted by the audience.

James Chatfield, from the jewellers, got the ball rolling by commenting on the town’s late night shopping event held in December, “Over the years it seem to have got worse and worse as far as taking in the money is concerned, it’s became more of a funfair than late night shopping.

“We all need to get behind it or scrap it.”

In response Cllr Franklin said it was felt that the fun fair had had a detrimental effect and therefore it was decided that smaller rides for children would be planned in the future instead.

Talks about the Christmas lights being on for a longer period of time was also on the agenda but Seaford town clerk Sam Shippen told the audience that this could cost an extra £1,000. Other traders said they did not know about the event until the last minute.

Councillor Ian White said, “We want to help you become more successful. We do not want to see empty businesses.”

But his mention of there being a suggestion to pedestrianise Broad Street received resounding cries of ‘no’ from members of the public.

However Keith Blackburn, chairman of Seaford Community Partnership, said, “The pedestrianisation issue is not black and white, we could encourage more restaurants to eat outside. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.”

He added that the ‘beach was the jewel in the town’s crown’ but that signage to the seafront was abysmal.

Another trader tried to encourage people from other businesses to come to the Chamber of Commerce meetings to discuss ideas.

A member of staff from the Silverdale guest house said he calculated that tourists at his accommodation spent around £250,000 a year in the town and with a few other hotels/B&Bs in Seaford that figure would be £1 million.

He argued there needed to be more accommodation in Seaford, adding, “People have tried to open B&Bs but have been turned down because they did not have parking and it’s absolutely ridiculous – we need more B&Bs in the town.

“There’s no signs for the beach – we need to make Seaford the destination for the new South Downs National Park.

“We need to encourage people to open in the town.”