We are blessed with some great local shopping areas, buzzing with life, with cafes, restaurants, independent shops and businesses, libraries, and open spaces.
Areas such as Northfields Avenue; The Avenue and Pitshanger Lane in Ealing; Churchfield Road in Acton; Leeland Road Farmers Market in West Ealing; Acton Market; Bond Street in central Ealing; South Road and King Street in Southall; the Broadway in Hanwell; and Greenford Broadway, to name just a few.
However we all know how tough the times there have been recently and, if we are to believe the pundits, it will be a while before things improve.
Meanwhile Ealing's Conservative Council has been working hard to support local businesses and traders in every town right across the borough: Acton, Ealing, Greenford, Hanwell, Northolt, Perivale, Southall and West Ealing.
We are spending many millions of pounds to support shops and traders improve their marketing, merchandising and shop fronts; improving the street environment with new pavements, more hanging baskets, removal of clutter; and generally tidying up our towns. This all helps to make shopping locally a more pleasant experience, as we are all more likely to shop locally if the environment is pleasurable.
As part of this support Ealing Council is suspending all charges for off-street parking every weekend in January. This is a huge boost and has been welcomed by the business and traders' associations.
To weather this storm every one of our independent traders needs all the support they can get. Support from us all.
Of course there is a need for the big multiples, but very often the local independent traders offer a great service.
So, through the columns of your newspaper I would like to start a campaign to shop locally and use local services. I would like to encourage us to think local, spend local.
We all have experiences of how local independent shops, traders and businesses have provided magnificent service and great value for money. Let's share those experiences, through your newspaper, and support our local neighbourhood shops and businesses.
COUNCILLOR DAVID MILLICAN
Northfield Ward Cabinet member for regeneration and transport Ealing Town Hall