Brentwood: Shenfield traders demand answers over Cross Rail plans

�Shenfield traders have demanded answers over Crossrail plans and have enlisted the help of MP Eric Pickles to prevent a disastrous loss of trade in the High Street.

Kaye Thurgood, owner of Sincerely Yours, in the High Street, hand-delivered a letter to Mr Pickles, MP for Brentwood and Ongar, last week to explain her and other traders’ concerns and to ask him to help them engage with Crossrail.

The traders feel they are not being given enough information about the plans for the new train line in Shenfield, and wanted to avoid a repeat of when the roads were closed for National Grid works in May, which resulted in a loss of trade.

She said there was three weeks of “complete confusion and disruption” and the footfall was down by 40 per cent because customers could not get into the town.

Kaye said: “We are asking for communication. We have the local knowledge, we are the traders here, we know exactly what the traffic flows are. We know exactly what causes problems and we just had a very bad experience with the National Grid.

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“Lessons can be learnt from that. The council didn’t communicate with us over that, but now we have the council talking to us, so let’s not make the same mistake again.”

She added: “I said to Eric Pickles in the letter that we have just had this situation, for God’s sake, don’t make the same mistakes again.”

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Kaye added that the traders needed to be able to know the plans so they could comment on them.

“It may be that our local knowledge shows the plans they are putting in place simply won’t work.

“Involve us in the process and we can say, this is a problem, this could be better.”

Mr Pickles said: “I met with Kaye last week and I told her that I had a meeting with Crossrail.

‘Good news’

“I am planning to organise another meeting with them , as well as the town council and Essex County Council.

“The good news is that Crossrail does not want as much car parking space as they originally did.

“They wanted the space for their crane for the construction of the station.

“I will be working with Kaye to inform the residents about developments.”

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