Today would’ve been a good day for our Councils to throw their weight behind the support for our local independent businesses and joining in with the #UKindieday campaign. Unfortunately, it just didn’t happen. This isn’t the first time and I’m sure it’s not the last.

I can understand local businesses telling me that they lack confidence in our Council supporting their future prosperity and with these attitudes, it doesn’t look good for the economic success of our District.

Rochford town centre is a shadow of its former self, despite some willingness from the Parish Council to try and help turn it around. A thinly-veiled plan of regeneration in Rochford by relocating the Council offices to an out of town location doesn’t bode well for the already run-down High St and square.

The challenge for local business is big. Not only to keep customers coming through their door but to get the Council to change it’s the attitude to supporting local business and grabbing hold of the opportunities and seizing the moment to help deliver the real change that our District needs for the future growth. Yes, we need them to invest and lead the way – it’s a challenge that they shouldn’t shy away from.

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About the author 

James Newport

Essex County Councillor for Rayleigh North, Rochford District Councillor for Downhall & Rawreth and Rayleigh Town Councillor for Sweyne.

  • Independents Day: A “Heads up”. Are people aware that two of the shops on Grange Parade, London Rd, Rayleigh, have closed permanently following lockdown. We are so fortunate to have these shops, they have been invaluable over the last 4 months. They provide social benefits, as well as local, personal service. We must be alert for any applications for change of use, or unsuitable businesses. These shopkeepers have been loyal & helpful to us. Whatever Businesses take over these empty premises, they should not be to the detriment of the current mix of retailers.

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