Published: 06:00, 10 January 2015
Extortionate parking charges and eager traffic wardens are reportedly driving customers away from the town centre.
Businesswoman Joanna Griffin claimed this after closing the Sittingbourne High Street branch of her hair and beauty salon Naturally U just seven months after it opened.
The 46-year-old broke the news to her clients via Facebook.
The posting said: “Shannon [hairdresser] and Dani [beauty therapist] will now be based back at the Grove Park [shopping centre in Gadby Road, Sittingbourne] salon as we are closing our High Street branch.
“Unfortunately, Sittingbourne High Street lacks the additional client base and the Grove continues to grow and we need the cover back here. Excited to have all the team in one place.”
Speaking to the News Extra about the decision she said: “Grove Park has been a great success and we decided to try the high street to service a different part of the market. An opportunity arose and we took it. However, the town offers little for visitors and shoppers.
“Many of our clients opt for the Grove Park branch over the high street as its easy for parking etc – very few are tempted into the high street.
“For this reason we decided to go with our clients’ guidance and brought our team back together at the Grove Park salon.
“We now have six stylists, three therapists, one nail tech and one apprentice.
“We may still look to try another location.
“As much as I would love to be able to support our high street our council needs to help small businesses instead of driving potential clients away with extortionate parking charges and eager parking attendants.
“No permanent members of our team have lost their jobs.”
When asked if she would return to the town centre once the regeneration works were completed, she said: “It would be a nice idea but to date we have had no positive signs of the works starting and, at the pace to date, I may well have retired before we get to enjoy the new layout.”
A Swale council spokesman said: “There about eight to 10 hairdressers and barbers in the High Street, which is a lot for a modest area so competition may be one reason.
“It’s the first time we’ve come across anyone complaining about parking ticket rates and traffic wardens being eager as a reason for a business closing.”