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Shop Local finds “lovely community” in Cranham

PUBLISHED: 16:01 27 March 2013 | UPDATED: 17:27 27 March 2013

Baker Dean Preston with some freshly baked rolls

Baker Dean Preston with some freshly baked rolls

Archant

Good shopping areas where you can buy a range of things, and some thriving shops – Cranham is a happy place.

Town Cryer Harry Matthews with the friday morning tea drinkers at the Coffee and Conversation clubTown Cryer Harry Matthews with the friday morning tea drinkers at the Coffee and Conversation club

Despite the cold weather, the feedback from businesses during the Romford Recorder’s Shop Local visit to the area was mostly positive.

Dean Preston of Prestons Village Bakery, Willow Parade, said: “I’ve been here 25 years now and we’re doing better now than we ever have.

“I used to have three shops, I sold the other two and we bake everything here and do a range of fresh goods that you can’t get anywhere else really.”

Nikki Del Vecchio, manager of the St Francis Hospice shops on Avon Road for the last eight months, agreed: “It’s going really well since I’ve been here, Cranham is a lovely community and this is a nice parade of shops.”

Jackie Long, Town Crier Harry Matthews and Doreen KeelingJackie Long, Town Crier Harry Matthews and Doreen Keeling

But Jackie Long, of Balloons by Wonderland, Avon Road, highlighted some of the problems faced by modern high street business: “The weather has been terrible. When have you ever known a March like this?

“We get a lot of orders now over the telephone now, much more than people coming in, I think it is to do with how people are since they’ve started using the internet.”

Vivienne Miles of Miles Quality Meats, Avon Road, told the Recorder that although times are hard, the horsemeat scandal had seen an increase in people shopping in real butchers again.

She also raised concerns about what a charge for A boards could mean for local businesses (see link, right).

Harry Matthews and Vi Foster with local butchers Tony and Vivienne MilesHarry Matthews and Vi Foster with local butchers Tony and Vivienne Miles

Residents’ Association councillors are currently calling for the council to extend the 90 minutes free parking in Avon Road to Cranham Village, to give businesses a further boost.

Later, the Recorder popped in to a lively gathering at the Cranham Social Club, Front Lane.

The welcoming Coffee and Conversation club takes place every Friday from 10am-noon.

It often features guest speakers, all are welcome and it is also looking for new members of its committee.

To help or for more information call 01708 472 373.


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