1. ITV Report

Is Bath losing its independent charm?

The independent shops of Bath give it character Photo:

It is the many independent shops which helps give Bath its character and charm. But many shop owners say small businesses here are being driven out. Mainly because they can't afford Bath's high rents and rates.

Emma Savage owns a small clothes shop Credit: ITV West Country

Bath has changed so much we have an amazing independent high street but they're leaving they're slowly trickling away and I've got friends and I know more who will leave in the next year because they can't afford to stay here it's such a shame.

– Emma Savage, Shop owner
Small businesses are slowly leaving says Emma Credit: ITV West Country

But independent businesses say they're also having problems with getting enough people through the door - especially shops not on the main high street and not on the main tourist map.

Not being on the high street can be an additional challenge Credit: ITV West Country

Amanda Brown runs a shop in Widdecombe which is a little off the beaten track.

Some traders say the council should do more to help. The council says it regularly meets with independent traders and provides a flexible approach to resolving financial situations.

The council is supportive of independent businesses as they enhance the variety on offer in Bath.

– Bath and North East Somerset
The council say they appreciate what small businesses add to Bath Credit: ITV West Country

But with on-going issues, many independent businesses are using each other for support. Sal Godfrey has set up a Twitter forum called Bath Indie Chat - to encourage an online community full of advice.

Independent's in Bath are facing various challenges my response to that is what can I do and I think what they can do is stick together and support each other and shout about each other.

– Sal Godfrey
Sal Godfrey wanted to do something to help Credit: ITV West Country

But essentially it's our shopping habits, which experts say will help the survival of small businesses.

Angela Mac Ausland from the Federation of Small Businesses says we can all play a part in preserving independent shops.

And that's what the traders want too. Before more businesses become empty stores.