Horley may get its own currency to keep local shoppers

A small town in Surrey is considering printing its own currency in a bid to help local businesses.

A Horley councillor has proposed the idea to help the town compete with nearby Crawley.

Similar schemes have been set up elsewhere in the country, including in Lewes in East Sussex, where residents exchange their pound sterling for the Lewes pound.

Councillor Richard Bethell said he was looking at ways to attract shoppers.

He said: "The fundamental problem is that we have a population of 23,000 people [in Horley] and where do they go for their big weekend shop or weekly shop?

"Well they certainly don't tend to go to Horley. They tend to go to Crawley, Redhill or Reigate.

'Mad rush'

"They take their money out of the town and the result is that when you go into the Horley shopping centre footfall is low and it's definitely fragile."

The Lewes pound was established in 2008 as a complementary currency to pound sterling.

It can only be used in Lewes and the idea was create loyalty in shoppers to help independent businesses.

Patrick Crawford, who is a member of the Lewes pound group, said: "It's still seen as a great idea, although it's much quieter than the original mad rush."

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