Lawson could be left with few local shops unless immediate action is taken to revitalise its town centre, local business owners have warned.
Proprietor of Leura Blumes Amanda Thomson relocated the store to Lawson from bustling Leura in April 2011, but has warned if more is not done to attract new business to the town the new block of shops she moved into would turn into “death row”.
She has joined with other business owners in calling for something to be done with the three empty blocks next to her store to make the town less “disjointed” and offer more for locals and tourists alike.
“People are coming in here and asking about it [the empty blocks], and I have no answers for them. It’s just word of mouth and local gossip,” she told the Gazette.
“People don’t want this town to die and people are really supportive of businesses around here but we are not enough, we need to generate more business in the town.
“Lawson is very disjointed at the moment.
“If businesses here don’t survive we will close down and this will turn into death row.
“I have advocated for a business directory so there can be a sign saying there are shops here . . . People don’t even realise there’s shops down the bottom.”
Amanda hoped to raise interest in the issue and get locals to express their opinions about what they would like to see in the town.
While a street map had been provided to help people get around the town, plans by businesses to put a banner pointing to the shops had been “a drama” with Blue Mountains City Council (BMCC), she said.
Tailor Made Hair manager Emma Edwards also said it would be good to know what was going on with the vacant blocks.
“We get people asking us every day,” she said.
“I think the council has a big responsibility to help get these shops back on track. It would be good to have a directory, they have them at Blaxland and all the other towns.
“We want something to start happening. We will all be shut in a couple of years if nothing is done.”
A BMCC spokesperson said development consents were still in place for the three parcels of empty land next to the new shops, but the council could not give a timeline as to when they would be developed.
“It is a decision of the applicant/owner when they develop their land and as such, council cannot provide any indication of the timing of the commencement of construction of these developments,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
“The development consents are valid for five years.
“Council has no legal power to impose a condition of consent that construction is to commence at a certain time within this five year timeframe. Proceeding with an approved development and the commencement of construction is a matter for the owner.”
A business directory was considered inappropriate for the town because the shops covered 100 per cent of the site, as opposed to being located within a complex or larger business park, the spokesperson said.