Upminster's Swan Books to close after 83 years
PUBLISHED: 13:59 02 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:25 02 January 2020
Upminster's popular independent book store is closing down due to "changes on the high street".
Swan Books in Corbets Tey Road has announced that it will cease trading on January 18.
A notice posted in the window revealed the book shop has come under pressure from "changes on the high street, aggressive competition online and evolving consumer habits".
The notice states: "The reckless changes to the parking charges imposed last year (by a council 'supposedly' on our side) produced the final straw.
"Thank you to all who have supported us over the last 83 years - our customers are our friends and we are sorry for the inconvenience closure will cause."
In June last year, Havering Council introduced new car parking charges starting from £1.50 in Hornchurch and Upminster.
Residents have since held numerous protests against the council's decision to scrap 30 minutes of free parking in the two town centres.
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When speaking to the Recorder in their 80th anniversary year about the difficulties of running an independent bookshop, the owners said rising business rates, parking and rent were prominent issues.
Swan Books first opened in 1937 and was formerly known as Swan Libraries when it also offered a book-lending service alongside purchases,
Customers can continue to buy books online Swan Books website.
Councillor Osman Dervish, Havering's cabinet member for environment, said: "It is sad to see the closure of any of our local businesses.
"We appreciate it is a difficult time for all our high streets with the ever changing shopping habits and online competition.
"Since the new parking charges have been introduced, we have been talking with local businesses as to how we can support them where possible.
"Free parking was introduced at weekends leading up to and over Christmas and New Year and we have also launched a campaign promoting local businesses to encourage residents to shop local.
"We continue to listen to concerns from residents and businesses on the impact of the parking charges and will be working together with them to find a long-term solution."