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CHANGING FACE: Why is footfall dropping off in the once ‘booming’ Pinner?

 Published on: 14th February 2023   |   By: Darius Morgan   |   Category: Uncategorized

The landscape of Pinner has changed considerably in recent years.

Both the High Street and Bridge Street have undergone seismic shifts, with the increasing number of closing banks seen as the driving force behind the collapse of footfall in the village centre by local business owners.

In 2021, NatWest, Santander and Halifax closed, and this was followed in 2022 by the closure of branches of Barclays and HSBC.

Nationwide’s branch on Bridge Street still stands. The building society has promised to all cities and towns where there is an existing branch that they will be remain until at least 2024.

A spokesperson for Nationwide stated: “We understand the role our branches, and our wonderful colleagues, play on high streets nationwide.

“We believe there has never been a greater need to commit to supporting communities, and rebuilding society, than there is now.”

Mr Shah runs Pinner Village Store, which has been at the heart of the community for more than 30 years. He spoke to PINNERnews about the effect closing banks has had on local businesses.

He said: “The High Street has changed so much. When we came here, it was booming.

“There has been a big drop off of business, especially after the pandemic. Many people are closing down. All the banks are gone.

“All that is coming here is service industries now; coffee shops, nail salons and hairdressers. But there are no retail businesses coming up. There’s a WHSmith, a Boots, there’s us, but not much more. On the other side of the road, there’s only the chemist.”

An independent business owner located on Bridge Street, who wished to remain anonymous, finds it “strange” that the banks have closed as they were “often used”.

They said: “It’s affected footfall massively. For a lot of people middle-aged and above, going to the bank gave them an opportunity to get out. If they go to the bank, they might do a bit of shopping, see our window and pop in. Now it’s so quiet.

“It would be nice to see a clothes shop. There used to be a couple of bookshops but again they’ve closed down.”

Imran Javed, from Shic Dry Cleaners, agrees that footfall has dropped off in recent years. He believes it may be another four or five years until business returns to a pre-COVID-19 level.

Imran said: “It’s been tough. The pandemic has had a massive effect. People working from home just don’t need their clothes dry cleaned as much. Their priorities have changed.

“We’re all part of the same system. We rely on our customers and community, and if the people are struggling, then the businesses struggle.”

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