After scores of people have lost their jobs, livelihoods and homes, a Facebook group has been set up to speed up the recovery process of Langney Shopping Centre.
The roof of the shopping centre caved in at 4am, just five days before Christmas. It collapsed on to the seating area of the Windmill Cafe and while people are grateful there was no loss of life, the closure of the centre has been a devastating blow for many people.
At the end of last week, all eight staff from Langney’s Peacocks branch were made redundant. Some of the other national chains in the centre have moved their staff to other local branches but the independent businesses and the market traders, who set up stall in the car park twice a week , are really suffering.
Guy Soper, a bike mechanic who traded at Langney Market, said, “The closure of the market has meant a loss of income, due to me not being there, in the same way as closing a shop.
“Many people brought their bikes to me at the market, as I was able to offer instant repairs.
“I also sell new and used bikes, and bicycle accessories, the demand for which peaks in the week before Christmas.
“Also, continuity is very important to our customers. Traders that don’t attend regularly will struggle to gain the trust of market goers. It could be very difficult to re-establish the market, if it is closed for too long and people change their shopping habits.”
The strong ‘community spirit’ has been praised by the town’s MP Stephen Lloyd and last week, locals set up a Facebook group called ‘SAVE Langney Shopping Centre’.
The page on the social networking site has attracted many comments from residents who are missing the centre.
Rachel Whitmore posted, “A great loss to the community of Langney. Thoughts are with all the people affected.
“Definitely invest in this area in the future – perhaps an opportunity for something bigger and better, but not losing that community focus.”