Shop owners near Charing Cross say that street food is killing their business.
This month, the Parish of St Helier has allowed mobile food vendors to open more frequently near the crapaud sculpture.
But nearby shops that also sell food - many whom are already unhappy at the closure of Broad Street - say they are being driven out of business.
Among them is Simple Simons owner Simon Ogden, who said: “It is killing us. My sales have halved and I have had to lay off a member of staff."
Pictured: Simple Simons say that their turnover halves when street food vendors are open opposite.
He continued: “That space was not designed for food retailers and it is simply unfair competition because we have to pay rates and other ongoing costs. We are already suffering with the closure of Broad Street so this is another kick in the teeth.
“Also, the carts and stalls further squeeze people walking down Charing Cross so social distancing is going out the window, which is the whole reason they closed Broad Street in the first place.
“I was told to raise my concerns with the parish but it is the parish that is issuing the licenses, so that’s hardly going to help. I’m not alone here: the newsagent and 99p store are suffering just as badly.”
Pictured: Charing Cross has long been a pop-up location but has been used more frequently this summer.
But St Helier said it was doing all it could to encourage people into town without upsetting existing businesses.
Constable Simon Crowcroft said: “The parish has long held the view that pop-up shops should avoid direct competition with permanent ones especially given the extra costs and overheads paid by the latter establishments.
“The need to avoid unfair competition with our valued, existing retail and hospitality outlets is very much in the forefront of our minds when we try to create a sense of street theatre in town.
“We have also borne this tension in mind in setting the rates payable by pop-ups [£53.40 a day at Charing Cross], as if they are too cheap it makes the situation of permanent rate-paying shops even more invidious."
Pictured: St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft.
He added: “Apart from the present difficulties created by the pandemic, leading to a proportion of people avoiding town in order to physically distance themselves, there is the accelerating threat to town businesses from internet shopping.
“This is another reason why we feel it is vital that we make a visit to town more than a series of purchases, and it is also why we want to encourage as many office workers to return to work rather than continuing to work from home.
“We think we have got the balance right in the present situation but the Town Centre Manager, Vicky Trehorel, and I will continue to liaise with local shops and will adjust the nature of pop-ups where there is a prejudice to surrounding business.”
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.