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Businesswoman could be forced to close her shop in Hope Street, Sheerness

Ann Burbidge at her shop Crafts4U in Hope Street, Sheerness
Ann Burbidge at her shop Crafts4U in Hope Street, Sheerness

A businesswoman fears she is going to have to shut down her shop as not enough people are aware it exists.

Ann Burbidge has run Crafts and Gifts 4 U in Hope Street, Sheerness, for six years and says she has been trying to get permission for a sign in the nearby High Street for most of that time.

The 75-year-old says although there’s wording on the front of the shop, which sells wool, haberdashery and other craft materials, not enough people know it’s there and she is losing trade.

She says the issue is you can’t see the shop sign from the main road and it’s not a street visitors would just walk down by chance.

What she would like is an arrow sign on a bollard or lamppost in the High Street to direct shoppers.

The grandmother-of-two says she has written to Kent Highways numerous times and fills out the forms they send to her but all she ever gets is her request declined and no further help.

She has been told in the past about alternative methods of signposting, but she doesn’t like A-boards as she feels they are dangerous and a hanging sign would still not be visible from the town centre.

“It’s going to put me out of business if I don’t get a sign,” she said.

“I love doing it and don’t want to give it up but it’s a real struggle.

“They say no but they never say why and there’s never anyone available to talk to.

“The council says it is trying to help little shops but they don’t seem to be doing anything.”

KCC’s traffic engineer for Swale, Steve Darling, said they had contacted Mrs Burbidge in 2011 and asked her to complete a form but they say they never received a response, although she says she did return the forms.

“We understand how important it is for businesses to publicise themselves, but when permitting signage to be erected on the highway we have to establish a clear need, and consider whether the signage would act as a distract to road users and endanger their safety,” he said.

“There are plenty of widely publicised alternatives to signage on the highway, including A-boards.”

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