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Sidcup: Traders demand help for ailing high street

PUBLISHED: 12:26 25 August 2011 | UPDATED: 15:40 25 August 2011

Adrian Butler

Adrian Butler

Archant

Traders who have been rewarded by the council for making a positive contribution to the local economy are demanding that more is done to encourage residents to shop in the area.

Twenty businesses in Sidcup have been accredited with Bexley council’s Proud to be Sidcup scheme but owners have said that the recent introduction of Sunday parking charges is deterring residents from visiting the ailing high street.

The council introduced the changes to all the borough’s pay and display car parks in June even though the high street, with a large number of empty shops, has been badly affected by the recession.

Adrian Butler, manager of the Portrait pub in Main Road, which received the council accolade, said: “The council is not doing a great deal to attract other people to the high street. Robust actions of traffic wardens puts people off as well as charging for car parking on Sunday.”

Building work has begun on a Waitrose store and 84-bedroom Travelodge in the high street, due to open in July 2012.

Geoff Vickery, manager of the Bed Post in Elm Road, said: “Customers have said that car parking in the area is difficult. I’d like to see all the empty shops being filled, that will generate more people coming to the area.”

Councillor Linda Bailey said: “We have piloted the Proud to be Sidcup scheme in the town because as it has suffered, particularly in the current economic climate, local traders have worked tirelessly and continue to serve local people well.”

A council spokesman said: “We invested £1.8m as part of the Sidcup Town Area Renewal project, benefiting residents, businesses and commuters in the area by improving pedestrian facilities, reduced congestion and enhanced street environment. A further £350,000 investment is being planned.

“Sidcup has the second highest number of parking spaces in Bexley and charges are the cheapest in south east London.”

n For independent and confidential business advice, contact the local enterprise agency for Bexley at the Thames Innovation Centre on: 020 8320 1000 or visit: www.thamesinnovation centre.com

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