Flower stall is allowed to stay in High Street

A trader whose flower stall was at risk of being put out of business following a decision to revoke her licence has claimed victory in her battle to get the decision rescinded.

Dawn Smith, who runs Mrs Florist in the High Street on Fridays and Saturdays, was facing a bleaker winter after Tunbridge Wells Borough Council voted to revoke the scheme under which she operated by January.

But the council backtracked last week after Mrs Smith’s campaign to save the scheme, as reported in the Times, attracted widespread support.

Mrs Smith said: “We were overwhelmed by the amount of support from the public, the shops and some members of the council who had not been there for the initial vote.

“It is a really progressive move for the council to think again about the decision and come to see the scheme in such a positive light. And I’m pleased they gave us the opportunity to talk.

“I also want to thank the High Street Traders’ Association for all their help in securing this victory.”

Although she is grateful she will no longer be forced to leave, Mrs Smith, who runs another Mrs Florist stall in Royal Victoria Place seven days a week, believes more could be done to encourage local entrepreneurialism.

Extending

She said: “I would like them to consider extending the scheme so stall owners could trade for seven days and
not just the two. But I am not sure they are willing to contemplate that yet, which is a shame.”

A council spokesman said: “At the meeting on September 8, members of the licensing committee reconsidered the street trading policy and agreed that it should stay as decided in 2013.

“It was also decided that the committee would look at it again in 2016 to determine if any modifications to fees and locations would be required.

“There are six pitches allocated in Calverley Road precinct. Anyone interested in applying for a street trading consent can find information on the council website or contact the licensing team.”


With Mrs Florist under threat, High Street retailers rallied round to offer their support by emailing the council, urging it to reconsider. What they said:

TUNBRIDGE WELLS SHOWROOM:
“We understand this lovely addition to our high street is under threat of closure. We hope you will appreciate the disappointment and inconvenience this will cause us. The stall is a much valued addition to the retail assortment on offer at this end of town. It also makes for a wonderfully colourful display – so cheerful on a grey day. We all use the flower stall and are happy to recommend it to our customers too. We therefore urge you to, and very much hope you will, re-consider your decision.”
Sue Cook, Lydia Thorpe, Emily Jepps, Jane Gillett and Sharon Sands

BOD & TED:
“As a local independent trader we find having the flower stall there is beneficial to us and our customers and it will be a real shame to see it go. Many of our customers come to see us and get some flowers at the same time. It certainly brightens up our lovely high street.”
Sophie

PAYNE & SON:
“I was very sad to hear Tunbridge Wells Borough Council are intending to close down the flower stall on the High Street. Mrs Florist always has such a beautiful array of blooms and it is a welcome sight every Friday and Saturday. The High Street needs diverse businesses and Mrs Florist is just that. Where else can we go for such stunning flowers? Please reconsider the licences and allow street traders to continue.
Joanne Wicker