Business owners’ concerns dismissed as Eltham High Street plan is rejected

Conservative proposals to help struggling Eltham High Street businesses survive disruption caused by improvement works have been rejected by Labour-run Greenwich Council, with one Labour councillor dismissing businesses’ concerns as “blown out of proportion”.

Labour’s Councillor Linda Bird, whose Eltham North ward covers the northern side of the High Street, insisted at the Town Hall on Wednesday night that businesses were “pleased with the council’s support” despite a petition of around 1,000 signatures being presented calling for action to help the High Street cope with ongoing disruption.

The meeting saw Labour councillors vote down proposals from opposition Conservative councillors to introduce a time-limited business rate exemption, free parking and an advertising campaign to help stop High Street businesses going out of business as a result of the 18-month works.

After the Conservative motion was introduced onto the council’s agenda, Labour councillors used the final edition of its now scrapped Greenwich Time newspaper to promote a hastily-arranged coffee morning for business owners this Saturday (2nd June 2016).

Councillor Spencer Drury (Con, Eltham North) said: “I find it staggering that Labour councillors are so unwilling to listen to the real and genuine concerns of business owners on the High Street. We came to Wednesday’s meeting with constructive proposals as to how the council can help business survive plunging footfall and takings as a result of the disruption. Instead Labour councillors seem to think the answer is a coffee morning.

“Conservative councillors will continue to press for the real action that businesses need. I hope that the Council will take its head out of the sand and listen to what is actually going on – and help our High Street businesses before it is too late.”