Our once-thriving area is now a ghost town – we're losing money… no one wants to leave their homes | The Sun

RESIDENTS living in a once-thriving area say it's now a ghost town and locals see no need to leave their homes.

Charlotte Gurney runs a retail park and shop in the small Norfolk village and says she feels like she's losing money week-on-week.

The Sprowston business owner said the pandemic was to blame, and now mostly the older generation rarely leave their homes.

She said people started learning to online shop, and became more accustomed to cooking for themselves – rather than heading out and supporting the local hospitality spots.

Charlotte, who owns White House Farm retail park and farm shop, is now looking at ways to keep her business afloat.

She told the Eastern Daily Press: “When the first lockdown happened, we were incredibly busy with deliveries, but by the third people had worked out how to do an online shop.

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"Once they’ve figured that out it’s hard to get them back out.

“People have learnt to cook and got happy in their gardens and spent money on their homes, so you have to work that much harder to get them out the house."

She said there was also "a lot of fear" among the vulnerable and elderly, adding: "It might just be a niggling worry about mixing, but that’s enough to keep you home unless absolutely necessary.”

Charlotte said she and other businesses are now having to change their tactics, and find ways to encourage residents to get out and about.

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She said: “It’s increasingly about being experiential. You have to offer something that people have to leave the house for, and that feels worth the outing.

“You’ve got to build the sort of place people feel comfortable – somewhere a grandparent would feel comfortable taking their grandchildren.

“It’s going to force a lot of businesses to be creative and innovative and find that unique story that can compete with the big brands and online shopping.”

It's not unusual for locals to speak out about how their villages are turning to ghost towns.

East London residents recently opened up about how desperate they were to leave their town.

Locals of Dagenham said they have "had enough" of the borough as old hotspots have closed and "nothing changes".

Elsewhere locals in one of the "deadliest" areas in the UK said they won't leave their homes.

Disheartened locals in Great Bridge, West Midlands, have seen the once-thriving area drastically change with shuttered shops and rising crime rates.

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