Business leaders in the Borders have held, what have been described as 'important talks' with the council after a survey showed shoppers are staying away from eight Borders towns.
There's been a 17% drop in the numbers over the last four years.
Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce says more can be done to boost local high streets.
James Aitken from SBCC told ITV Border:
'If you walk into any shop in the Borders it is an issue right across the board. That's why we are such supporters of the borders railway and broadband being improved. Business rates are a huge issue. We would ask the council to look at that again and see what help they can give. "
Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland & Lonsdale**, said:
"A leader and a window cleaner - everyone here knew that Brendan Jameson wasn't a politician, he was one of us. Brendan was born and bred in Kendal and besotted with Kendal.
“Brendan was the first ever Lib Dem to lead our District Council, the man who brought recycling to every home in South Lakeland and who ensured 500 new affordable homes were built for local families, he also fought like a tiger to make sure that we got the Olympic Torch and Olympic investment into South Lakeland
"Brendan was a good friend, great company, a strong leader, a hardworking campaigner and a Kendalian to his core. I will miss Brendan immensely, and we will honour his memory by continuing to serve and protect the community he loved."
The deputy Prime Minister has paid tribute to the leader of South Lakeland district council Brendan Jameson who died unexpectedly at the weekend.
Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said:
“I met Brendan many times as Leader of South Lakeland District Council; he was always a true fighter on behalf of his community, making sure they were heard by Government.
“The last time I was in Kendal I saw him at the opening of Chemotherapy Services at Westmorland General. He was so proud of another campaign success. Brendan and Tim were a formidable team – working together they did everything they could to make things better for people in South Lakeland.
“My thoughts are with his family today. He was a fantastic community champion and our party has not only lost a council leader but a true liberal and a great friend.
Cross-party tributes have been paid to Brendan Jameson, the county councillor for Kendal Strickland & Fell and Leader of South Lakeland District Council, who has died suddenly at the age of 66.Cllr Ian Stewart, Leader of Cumbria County Council's Liberal Democrat Group, said:
"I was shocked when I heard that Brendan had passed away at the weekend. For a man who was so full of life it came as a unexpected, bewildering and tragic piece of news.
Brendan and I had worked together for many years and his enthusiasm, hard work for his community and determination earned him my respect, which was shared by all those who came into contact with him.
It is especially sad that Brendan will not see the benefits of his hard work on the Olympics, which he had been a champion for at a Cumbrian, regional and national level. Our deepest sympathies go to his partner Julie and his family.
The County Council and Conservative Group Leader Cllr Eddie Martin also paid tribute:"Brendan had been a county councillor since 2009 and district councillor since 1999. He had dedicated over a decade to helping local people, pushing the case for South Lakeland and Cumbria and making a difference.
I worked closely with Brendan on the Cumbria Leaders Board and always admired his enthusiasm and approach to life. It is very sad that so much life and energy can be extinguished so quickly and unexpectedly."
Cllr Stewart Young, Cumbria County Council's Deputy Leader and Leader of the Labour Group, said:
"This has come as a bolt from the blue and is tragic and shocking news.
People from across the political spectrum in Cumbria have been rocked by Brendan's unexpected death, but our thoughts must go out to his close family and friends.
Tony Potts, Copeland Rail Users Group said: "We don't want to see a micro franchise here on the west coast. Being independent from the main line could cost us our links to Lancaster and the North East. We want to see better connections. The line should be improved but not in the way suggested."