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Campaigners say Worcester shops should close their doors to save energy
‘SHUT that door.’
That is the impassioned plea from one campaigner to the city’s shops and businesses to conserve energy during the winter months.
Hannah Cooper, of Kempsey, near Worcester, has been hitting the high street and Twitter to ask business owners to support the national Close the Door campaign.
It claims that by closing their doors, shops save up to 50 per cent in energy use and carbon emissions.
And while Ms Cooper has been overwhelmed by the support from independent shops and small chains, she said larger chains were sticking to their open-door policy.
The 31-year-old said: “I read about the campaign on Twitter and thought it sounded really effective so I went to the city centre and was staggered to find very few stores had closed doors despite it being a freezing cold day.
“You wouldn’t have your heating on at home and leave your doors wide open.
“I think independent businesses are happier to close the door because they are the ones that see their energy bills.
“And speaking to businesses who are taking part, they have seen no difference in footfall and have had positive comments from customers.”
A count of businesses on the High Street on Wednesday afternoon found that more than half – 33 out of 60 – had one or more doors wide open.
One of Ms Cooper’s success stories is Hotter Shoes in Worcester’s High Street, whom she first contacted in person, then over Twitter.
The shoe shop, as well as others in high streets across the country, now has signs in their windows to tell customers it is open.
Store manager Beverley Ellerton said customers had been full of praise for the warmer store.
“There has been no change in footfall, nobody has told us they thought we were shut and we have had really positive reaction from people,” she said.
“They love coming in when it is cold outside and don’t mind having to take their shoes off.
“It’s also great for the staff as well because we’re happier with feeling warmer.”
She said they usually had someone on the door to greet customers who helped people who may struggle including disabled people and parents with prams and pushchairs.
Also backing the campaign was Richard Broomhead, owner of Chocolate Deli, who said it was common sense.
“We take environmental issues quite seriously and try and conserve energy where humanly possible,” he said.
“Having a closed door doesn’t detract or deter customers – they still try to get in even when we have the lights turned off.
“It’s a good idea and anything we can do to save energy is definitely a good thing.”
Ms Cooper has been offered support by Green Party city councillor Neil Laurenson, and had a reply from the city’s MP Robin Walker, who said it sounded sensible in principle.
But the Arcadia Group, which owns fashion brands including Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins, said it had tested a Close the Door survey across 10 Arcadia stores across the country and the results of this showed a 0.9 per cent difference in energy saving.
“The feedback from our customers said when the doors were shut it was an inconvenience for parents with prams, seniors with scooters and disabled customers to handle the heavy doors.
“Our staff were unable to service the customers in store as well as support those attempting to enter.”
To find out more, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, visit closethedoor.org.uk or follow the Twitter account @close_the_door.
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