The businesses remaining in Denny town centre have appealed for residents not to abandon them after footfall in the area plummeted.
Traders in Stirling Street said they understood why some shoppers were put off by the on-going work to demolish Church Walk on the other side of the road - but they can no longer afford to wait in the hope the public will return once regeneration work is finished.
Several shop owners contacted The Falkirk Herald to state their case in the hope that footfall will improve in the crucial shopping weeks leading up to Christmas.
Lynn Dalrymple, who owns the Toon Bakery at 28 Stirling Street, said: “I hear people say that there is nothing in Denny - but soon there really will be nothing left if people don’t support local businesses.”
She added: “I opened the shop eight years ago with four staff. We now have two. Business is down dramatically.”
Wendy Black has run Carron Valley Formal Dress for 25 years and claims she can’t remember the town centre being so quiet.
“There are still a lot of good businesses looking to offer quality service to customers,” she said. “But we need customers – people in Denny have to use their shops or they will lose them.”
Raymond Murray, who owns Card Rack, said: “The centre has lost around 18 shops with the demolition of Church Walk, but those remaining need support. We can’t wait for things to improve once the building work has finally been completed.”
Liz Anderson of Scissors Hair Salon added: “We are trying our best in difficult circumstances.”
Plan to build more shops to replace Church Walk
Denny’s traditional commercial centre in Stirling Street has undergone many changes in the past 50 years and more are planned. The late-1960s Church Walk complex, which occupies the west side of the street, fell out of favour with shoppers and residents and has been demolished in stages over the last three years.
Construction of a smaller building on the cleared site near Denny Cross, with space for new shops and a library, will be delayed slightly next year to allow Falkirk Council to apply for town centre regeneration funding from the Scottish Government.
The local authority insisted however that the completition date of August 2016 would still be met despite the later start date.