Your views: what now for Clarkston?

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AMID units laying empty and footfall diminishing, Clarkston BID was formed three years ago to address the town centre’s commercial problems.

Several business owners came together to search for a solution and embark on projects to bring shoppers back to Clarkston.

However, this year, several shop owners pleaded with the council to reverse the policy of enforcing parking laws which they believed deterred shoppers. With no solution imminent, the Clarkston BID committee resigned, citing the parking problem as evidence that they had been “abandoned” by the council.

Betty Ritchie, an 80-year-old from Busby has lived in the area for 53 years and she finds the decline of the town centre “sad”. She told The Extra: “It is actually quite distressing how much things have changed in my time here. Clarkston used to be a great place to be.

“When I was bringing up my family, I could get anything I needed in Clarkston, that is certainly not the case anymore. Now I have to go to East Kilbride.

“The council needs to do something to save our town centre, whether it is through free parking or reducing rates.” Civil servant Clive Martlew lives just a few minutes walk from the main shopping area in Clarkston. The 58-year-old commented: “It a shame that there is such a high proportion of charity shops. The council needs to make the area a better place for people to shop. Busby Road needs a facelift and it needs regularly cleaned. At the moment it’s a complete mess, there is far too much rubbish on a constant basis. Maybe that would increase footfall and attract more quality businesses.”

Sales assistant Lisa Brown — who has lived in Clarkston all her life — thinks nearby shopping centres are to blame.

The 20-year-old said: “It is really hard to entice new shops to the area when Silverburn and East Kilbride provide such stiff competition.”

But John Smith (75), from Newton Mearns, who shops regularly in Clarkston, believes all is not lost.

He said: “It’s still a good place to be with lots of nice specialist shops and cafes. The council just needs to do something about parking so more people can take advantage.”