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Dumfries 'close to becoming a ghost town'

Many shops in Dumfries have been closing. Credit: ITV Border

Traders in Dumfries say 18 businesses have closed in the past four months.

High streets are struggling across Scotland, according to new figures showing one shop closes every day on average.

This week Scottish Enterprise announced it was starting a service in Dumfries and Galloway to support retailers.

But traders in the town say that without urgent help, the situation is likely to get worse.

I think it's very close to becoming a ghost town, as are all small towns in Scotland now.

They are all on the edge of disaster. We are not doing enough to make it easier to shop in the town centre.

We are standing in a big pedestrianised area, people like their cars to go shopping, but they can't take their car anywhere near our town centre because there's just no access.

– Rab Smith, Chairman, Dumfries Retailers Association

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Hawick businesses plan to halt High Street's decline

Credit: ITV Border

Businesses in Hawick will be meeting in the coming weeks to decide how to halt the decline of the town's High Street.

A group called 'Future Hawick' was set up last October and has now been given £30,000 from Scottish Borders Council to fund improvements.

Local businesses will be looking at the best way to spend the money.

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Disabled shoppers feel they have 'no choice' but to shop online

A report by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign "Trailblazers" found 75% of those questioned felt they had no choice but to shop online due to a lack of physical access.

One of those who took part in the survey was David Gale from Carlisle.

He's encouraging high street businesses to do more to support shoppers with disabilities and stop ignoring them.

Kim Inglis went to meet him.

'£60 can make all the difference to a disabled shopper’s high street experience'

“Being able to use banks, post offices, shops or cafés is a necessity of everyday life. However, we continue to hear from many young disabled people who are unable to physically access premises, encounter unhelpful staff and find accessible facilities being misused – discouraging many from paying a return visit.

“Displaying clear access information on websites, offering to carry a disabled customer’s items, or investing in a portable ramp costing as little as £60, can make all the difference to a disabled shopper’s high street experience.”

– Tanvi Vyas, Project Manager at the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Trailblazers

High street stores encouraged to do more for disabled shoppers

A Muscular Dystrophy Campaign group, Trailblazers, _is calling on UK high street businesses to consider how to improve the experience of their disabled customers.

A recent study carried out by the group found many young disabled people are struggling to access shops, cafés and restaurants in their local high streets.

The report, 'Short-changed’, asked 500 young disabled people what high street shops are getting right and what they could be doing to support their disabled customers.

Of the 100 who responded it was found that:

  • 75% felt forced or limited to shop online because of a lack of physical access in and around their town centre
  • Two thirds said physical access always or regularly affects where they decide to go
  • Nearly half say that staff attitude discourages them from revisiting local shops
  • 85% see disabled toilets, changing rooms or lifts being misused as storage space.
  • 70% believe there is inadequate access information on website
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