WITH reference to Irene Williams’ letter last week I feel I need to respond as a local business owner from the Upper High Street.

The claim that there is no point in developing the Upper High Street until there are decent shops there makes me wonder how recently Ms Williams ventured to this area of the town.

In that small area she would find Just Bikes, our familyowned cycle shop that is thriving and has been established for over 17 years, and of the seven makes of bike we sell, six of them are from British companies; Stuart Erskine hairdressers, long-established, busy, family-owned and thriving; Willows, a popular local family-owned tearoom making home-made food; Camaras fish and chip shop, long-established and busy; and At Last, the ladies’ clothing and accessory shop, once again independent and locally-owned and long-established and which has expanded to a bigger shop in the last few years.

There are also Indian, Chinese and Thai restaurants, leaving only one shop that has recently become empty.

This area of the High Street seems to have many of the type of businesses that local people say they want, yet I wonder how many do venture up here to have a look.

The intention of the development appears to be to make the Upper High Street more part of the rest of the High Street. Whilst this may entice people to venture beyond the current pedestrianized area it will also, during the development, cause disruption to all of the business that operate from it.

My hope is that our valuable local customer base will continue to support me and my fellow business owners in the Upper High Street and the development will have a longterm positive impact on footfall and business.

However don’t be fooled into thinking the Upper High Street is desolate and empty, it is far from it and could even be a blueprint for other areas of the town centre.

Locally-owned thriving business offering great personal service, isn’t that what people reminisce about?

All currently available in the Upper High Street!

David Brawn, owner, Just Bikes, Andover