A SHADOW Government minister decended on Chiswick last week to support local shops in their on-going battle against large retailers.
Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna proclaimed independent units give Hounslow residents greater choice and contribute to the unique character of the area during his visit on Thursday (4).
A petition was also circulated during his walkabout by campaigners calling on shoppers to sign and pressure Hounslow Council to protect historic Chiswick High Road for the future.
His visit coincided with a national Independents Day event in which members of the public are encouraged to buy at least one thing from an independent shop.
Mr Umunna has been leading calls for the establishment of a UK ‘Small Business Saturday’ to do more to celebrate and encourage consumers to shop with them.
Speaking after the trip he said: "It was wonderful to visit Chiswick and to meet the great local business owners there. Small businesses are not just the lifeblood of our economy but a huge force for good in our communities as well."
He also said of his meeting with Michael Moran of Top Hat drycleaners: "It’s brilliant to learn more about shops like this that have been running in Chiswick for over 40 years as a family business. I know how strongly people in Chiswick feel about the great character of the local area.
“Shops like Chiswick Hardware and Mortimer & Bennett delicatessen which I visited obviously bring great richness and variety. It was great to talk to the owners about the problems they face and what we can do to help.”
Local campaigner Sam White accompanied Mr Umunna on the walkabout and said: “Residents tell us they are worried about empty shops starting to appear and the concentration of estate agents. Chiswick High Road and roads like Turnham Green Terrace and Devonshire Road still offer an impressive range of independent shops and restaurants. We want to keep it that way."
He revealed that along Chiswick High Road from the Goldhawk Road junction to Chiswick roundabout at least 20 shops are currently empty.
The first ever Small Business Saturday event will take place on December 7 this year.