Have you noticed how more of our local shops are closing? Our once thriving high streets are having the life drained out of them. As business rates rise, local traders suffer. When well known shops close, shoppers leave and money goes out of the city. We are seeing this happening all across Portsmouth, from its heart in Commercial Road – as major high street brands leave – to here in Cosham.

Many people in the area rely on their local shops, particularly for all those essential everyday items. If you don’t have your own transport a trip to one of the large, out of city stores takes time, costs money and trains and buses aren’t always easily accessible for parents with pushchairs, wheelchair users or those not close to regular routes.

Local shops are a lifeline for so many of us and often provide the chance to chat and catch up with friends too. With the loss of them, some people will find themselves more isolated, without a friendly face in their day, particularly those who may be elderly or more vulnerable.

As a once familiar area starts to change with shop closures and facilities are lost, it becomes rundown. Jobs are lost too and empty buildings begin to encourage vandalism. I don’t want this for Cosham, I want it to feel safe, friendly and welcoming as the place I’ve always known it to be. I want to support our local shops and businesses so they can thrive, it’s what local government

should do. We want a vibrant high street, not a failing one.

That’s why I’ll be pledging to work with local business, the council and local groups to see what we can do to bring back business to Cosham.

Graham Heaney

Cosham Candidate

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