South Woodford and other town centres in line for extra business support from council

South Woodford firms could get extra support from Redbridge Council as part of a £100,000 fund to attract more customers.

The council wants to provide more resources to four town centres in Redbridge to help business owners develop promotional events and prepare funding bids.

The boost to South Woodford – along with Gants Hill, Wanstead and Chadwell Heath – would largely come through the council employing a manager to help direct business partnerships and “town teams” which could be set up.

The move is based on recommendations by a working group following the national review by retail expert Mary Portas into the high street economy.

Shopkeepers and other businesses would be given advice on how to access council services and there would be better communication between firms, the council and other agencies such as the police.

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Kerk Davies, who recently stepped down as chairman of the South Woodford Business Partnership after 15 years, welcomed the plans.

He said: “In terms of support for town centres, we’ve had quite a lot.

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“They’re putting up a sum of money to ensure there will be some further support and to ensure local businesses keep in touch.”

The business support worker would be in addition to the council’s town centres and business improvement districts manager, Beverley Stratton.

The role would not apply to Ilford and Barkingside town centres, which have their own support arrangements.

A council report said: “The economic climate and pressures from Westfield and other neighbouring centres has put pressure on businesses in Redbridge.”

“Local centres” such as Woodford Bridge would also benefit, according to the report.

Mr Davies, of E. Aves opticians in George Lane, said the introduction of a regular international market to the area last month had a “positive impact”.

He said: “We’re keeping our ear to the ground between now and the next Woodford Festival.

“We need to keep promoting the area.”

The funding would be provided over the next two years.

The proposal will be considered by the council’s policy and resources service committee today (Thurs).

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