Message to Barkingside traders: ‘pull your finger out to get things done’

Struggling Barkingside businesses have been accused of “not wanting to know” about plans to improve the area, just days after its business partnership was forced to disband.

Only two shopkeepers turned up to what ended up being the last Barkingside Business Partnership meeting, something described as “ridiculous” by Conservative Cllr Ann Candy.

Speaking at a meeting of area committee three held last night in Hainault Forest Community Hall, Manford Way, Hainault, she said: “Everybody talks about Barkingside going downhill, but nobody comes to any of the meetings. They just don’t want to know about it.

“They want things to happen without doing anything.

“There were more councillors at the last meeting than shopkeepers. It was ridiculous.”

Barkingside Business Partnership, along with Hainault Business Partnership, was forced to fold last week in response to the council axing contracted staff paid to help the partnerships with their day-to-day running.”

Campaign group Barkingside 21 has offered to “fill the vacuum” left by the disbanding of the partnership.

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Speaking at the committee meeting, chairman John Sharrock said his group would be willing to help with the funding and installation of Christmas lights in High Street, Barkingside.

Adding his voice to the possibility of Barkingside 21 “steeping into the breach”, Conservative Cllr Alex Phillips said: “The Italian market [in High Street] was a success.

“It’s time businesses pulled their fingers out and came to meetings to do their bit to and show they are making an effort.”

Conservative planning and regeneration cabinet member Cllr Nick Hayes, who sits on area committee three, said not all business partnerships in the borough were folding.

He said: “The idea was that they should be business led rather than council led.

“In the areas where that’s happened, the business partnerships have grown in strength.”

He also highlighted the work of the Hainault Business Improvement District, which has helped put into place changes for the better on the Hainault Estate.

• The next meeting of area committee three is on May 25 at a venue yet to be decided.