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‘Aylesbury shops need to up their game to compete with Milton Keynes rail link’

East West Rail: End of the line at the 'mothballed' section of track that will be re-instated for passenger services as part of the East West Rail link

East West Rail: End of the line at the 'mothballed' section of track that will be re-instated for passenger services as part of the East West Rail link

The development of East West rail means Aylesbury businesses will need to ‘raise their game’, according to MP David Lidington.

The train line, due to be opened in 2017, will mean people can travel from Aylesbury to Milton Keynes in just 35 minutes while also providing better links with Oxford and Bicester.

The development has been on the whole well received but the Europe minister has sounded a note of caution.

He said: “I have always been in favour of it.

“However, it will mean many challenges for retailers in Aylesbury.

“It becomes easier for people to shop in Milton Keynes. Retailers in Aylesbury will need to raise their game to make sure they keep people in the town.

“I think there will be a rise of pressure on the shops as they become more accessible.”

The Aylesbury MP said it was imperative that retailers planned ahead for the future and that continuing to bring in stores such as Waitrose will help the town.

He added: “There’s no single answer to this. Part of the answer is to improve the overall retail offer in the town.”

Despite Mr Lidington’s concerns, Aylesbury’s representative for independent traders, Chris Clarke, said he was looking forward to the rail line.

The chairman of Hester Clarke jewellers, said: “I don’t think it will be detrimental to Aylesbury retailers.

“They will not get the variety of independent shops you get in Aylesbury.

“You may well get people who are fed up shopping in Milton Keynes and want to come to Ayelsbury.”

Mr Clarke said shoppers may tire of the mass chains and marketing which are on offer in Milton Keynes and want to spend their money in Aylesbury which has more individual and independent shops.

 

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