Buxton traders battle to keep going on despite new lockdown

Independent Buxton traders say they are doing their best to carry on despite the new lockdown which means many will remain closed.

By Ben McVay
Wednesday, 6th January 2021, 4:45 pm

On Monday PM Boris Johnson announced the country’s third lockdown since the start of the pandemic.

Under the measures all non-essential businesses will remain closed and members of the public will be allowed to go outside for exercise, preferably once a day.

During the summer lockdown small business in Buxton town centre found ways to keep going including click and collect and online sales however some say the latest lockdown leaves the future even more uncertain.

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Miranda Midlane, of Scrivener’s Books and Bookbinding, described Monday’s announcement as ‘very worrying’.

She said: “During the last three-four weeks before Christmas it felt like there was a bit more normality but I’m not sure how it’s going to go now because we all still have bills to pay.

"During the last lockdown we delivered to people within walking distance and did click and collect but it’s nothing like business as normal.

"And some of our customers are people who don’t have a lot of company – they would often come in to tell us what they’re doing or not doing.

Scrivener's' Miranda Midlane describes the new lockdown as 'worrying'

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"Although we’re probably better off because our stock doesn’t really go off – I feel terribly sorry for people doing fashion who will be left with stock for the wrong season.”

Emma Creswick, of Chic fashion accessories, described how most of their winter stock would have to go into storage for next year.

Although she added “We had a good Christmas which has lifted us through and we’ll have to be alright – you do what you have to do.”

Buxton town centre traders say they will carry on, despite the new lockdown

Though many businesses are taking a big hit Mark Wilton, new owner of former cafe Eat at No 5, has transformed the business for takeaway and said lockdown had ‘worked out really well’.

Mark, who bought the business just over three months ago, said: “It’s flourishing – it’s surpassed what we thought it could do.

"There are only a few places open at the moment for takeout and with so many on furlough with nothing to do I think people are treating themselves a bit.

"You get people just out for a walk who pop in for a coffee and a cake or builders who come in for a bacon butty.”

As businesses struggle to find ways to make ends meet the Government has announced grants of up to £9,000 for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses on top of extended furlough and business rates relief schemes.

Local councils will also be given £500 million to support businesses with discretionary grants.

A spokesperson for High Peak Borough Council said officers were reviewing details on changes to the financial support available and ‘expected to confirm any changes to the arrangements’ this week.

High Peak MP Robert Largan said he was ‘hopeful’ - with a new vaccination hub in Chapel-en-le-Frith and another expected in Buxton next week.

The MP told how ‘we know there’s light at the end of the tunnel now’ and ‘my big focus is working with the NHS to get the vaccine rolled out locally as quickly as possible’.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor