Shenfield traders are on a ‘crusade’ to bring shoppers back to their high street
�Shenfield traders are on a “crusade” to “reignite the High Street” and get shoppers to buy locally.
A recent bout of roadworks shut off part of Hutton Road and made it impossible for shoppers to find parking spots.
Traders say customers just went elsewhere.
Although Brentwood Borough Council lifted parking charges in the two car parks behind the shops in an effort to encourage customers to shop locally, shopkeepers say the damage was done.
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Now some 50 store owners have joined forces to launch the Shenfield Traders’ Association to fight back, attract customers and increase trade in the town.
Though planning is in its early stages they will be meeting with the council next week about plans to mark the jubilee next month and to launch their own website with shops’ details to encourage people to visit the area.
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Kim Larkin, from the group, said: “People like to park where they are shopping. It had an effect on trade, which meant it brought all the traders together.
“The next plan of action is to run a campaign for local shopping.
“We are going to put together a website about the area. It will allow each trader to list their details
“People are now turning to the internet for all sorts and it will be suitable for people who want to move to the area and know what is there.
“The local traders have got the skill and expertise and high quality locally produced items at a very reasonable price.”
Emma Tidd, who works at Shenfield Pattisserie, said: “It’s good for the small businesses to get together in this way. But it is a shame that it’s taken something like this for us to crusade together.
“It will be good for the area though.”
Cllr Phillip Baker said: “Shenfield is a unique shopping experience and we have some great shops there.
“Traders are getting together to make it special. The reason there was a crisis was because of the gas mains work and there was nothing we could do about it.
“But when you are an independent shop and you have nothing going in the tills it hurts financially and is demoralising.
“It’s meant that traders have grouped together to brainstorm to bring people back so they understand what is here.”
Cllr Graeme Clark said: “I think our local High Street shops are very important and help bind together where people can meet. I’m a great believer in team work and every individual shop keeper doing their own thing won’t have as much impact as working together.”