They have just won “Independent Gift Retailer of The Year” for East Anglia at a glitzy event in London. Lesley’s shop is a fine example of a quality, independently owned business that’s been built up with hard work, flair and dedication. Plus lovely staff. It’s an asset to the High Street.
There are plenty of quality items around our district, not just gifts but food and other products. Maybe onlineFOCUS will do a feature towards the end of the year “50 good things to buy for Christmas”, selecting one item from 50 shops or similar premises….. to show you don’t have to buy online or elsewhere…
…..Philip Hodgkinson, from the Grange Pharmacy, in London Road, Rayleigh, has launched a petition to gather support for a national campaign led by the National Pharmacy Association.
More than 300 customers have signed his petition, which agues more pressure will be put on GPs and hospitals if community pharmacies are forced to close.
Mr Hodgkinson said: “Doctors time is so critically overloaded that pharmacies are even more popular. When GP surgeries are closed, pharmacies are the first port of call.
“I think a lot of the ones in Rayleigh are quite well used, so I hope they all stay, but you never know. About 3,000 are under threat, it’s the complete randomness of it all that’s quite chilling.”
According to the Department of Health, funding for community pharmacies is set to fall from £2.8bn to £2.63bn from October, as part of the drive to find £22bn of savings across the health service by 2020. …
Asked how often “commercial incentives or targets have compromised the health, safety or wellbeing of patients and the public, or the professional judgment of staff”, more than 60% of Boots pharmacists said that was the case half the time or more. That compares to 52% of chemists at other chains.
A reader asked us recently, in regard to our town centres:
Do RDC have a team that actively pursue large companies ( Next, John Lewis etc) with a view to getting them in this type of location?
Well we asked Mike Steptoe, Conservative councillor with the “Enterprise” portfolio, and he kindly passed on the following from officers:
The Council’s Economic Development Team work to assist local businesses to grow and develop, to promote new business start-ups, to nurture and inspire entrepreneurial talent, and to encourage existing businesses to relocate to the Rochford District.
In terms of encouraging existing businesses to relocate to the District this does include larger national companies and every effort is made to assist such business enquiries, we also work Invest Essex (part of ECC) who specialise in business relocation and expansion in Essex.
The Council will also continue to nurture home-grown small businesses, independent retailers and entrepreneurs.
For those people wondering what Marks and Spencer are really planning to do in Rayleigh, one of the applications on the latest ‘weekly list’ is a clue. It’s the last one in this document here. (starting on page 30).
These are the key paragraphs:
This application seeks planning consent for external alterations relating to the
change of the former The Co-operative Food store in Rayleigh to that of M&S
Simply Food. The store has a frontage of 74metres onto Eastwood Road and
lies within the Primary Shopping Frontage Area. It is outside of the Rayleigh
The proposed external alterations will facilitate the subdivision of the former
Co-operative store into two units with the larger unit to be occupied by an
M&S foodhall and the other sublet the occupier yet to be confirmed.
For years, Christy Walton, the widow of Walmart heir John T. Walton, was considered the richest woman in the world. The consensus gossip in plutocratic sewing circles was that Ms. Walton had inherited the bulk of her husband’s vast estate when he perished in a plane crash ten years ago. But according to court documents obtained by Bloomberg this morning, the late Walton left half of his then-$17 billion fortune to charity, a third to his son Lukas Walton, and the rest to his wife.
Now estimates of Christy Walton’s fortune have been revised down from $32 billion to a piddling $5 billion. But even as Bloomberg exposed Ms. Walton as a mere single-digit billionaire, they vaulted her son out of the huddled masses of trust-fund millionaires and into 103rd place on the list of the world’s richest people.
So, what do we know about this 29-year-old whose wealth outstrips that of many island nations?
He almost died of cancer as a small child: When Lukas was 3 years old, he was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer that quickly spread to his lungs. In an interview with the San Diego Tribune in 2008, Christy Walton credited her son’s miraculous recovery to a plant- and herb-based diet, with all the vegetables sourced from the family’s own home garden.
“I was giving Luke six glasses of juice daily — fruit or carrot. We would get organic pasta. I removed red meat and pork altogether, made my own mustard, mayo,” Walton told the paper. “In five months, Luke’s tumor was gone. I attribute that to a complete nutrition change.”….
…..He is enormously powerful: John Walton’s will ordered that his son be given the right to vote the estate’s general and limited partner units in Walton Enterprises, a holding company that owns a 50.2 percent stake in Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation’s largest private employer.
This was the rather surprising application which would allow the landlord (at the end of the current leases) to convert the estate agent and “New Look” into a bigger retail unit and allow the use of Santander Bank as a cafe or restaurant. Many councillors felt that having a bank there added more vitality to the High Street than yet another eating place however there were no strong policies to base a refusal on, so it was passed.
This doesn’t mean that Santander will be replaced by a restaurant, it just allows the possibility.
This was an application to allow the old art shop at the entrance of Berry’s Arcade to become a financial or profession premises. There was more discussion here , with Cllrs Jack Lawmon and Chris Black arguing that the application should be refused. Council planning policy here is to have a target of 50% retail use in this part of the town centre but the figure was already down to 48%. However the scheme was passed by 12 votes to 10.
This was an application for the new Pizza Express to have outside tables. This was quite controversial, partly because Rayleigh Town Council were concerned about making the pavement too narrow. However it was given a temporary 3 year permission, with a condition that the tables and seating have to be removed on market days.
There’s a new planning application that’s recently come in. It’s for 57 to 61 High Street Rayleigh, which we think includes Santander Bank, New Look and Elliott and Smith, the new estate agents. You can find the application on the council website here.
The application is described as:
Shopfront Alterations , Erection of First Floor Corridor and Change of Use From A2 (Bank) to A3 (Restaurant)
We’ve haven’t checked with officers on this but the documents indicate a change from a mix of banking and retail to a mix of retail and restaurants:
Hot on the heels of Marks and Spencer having a food outlet at a petrol station in Rawreth (opening this month), there’s some unofficial reports on the Rayleigh Action Group Facebook page that M&S are taking over the Co-op in Eastwood Road, probably as a food store.
This should be quite a boost to the High Street… a Marks and Spencers in Rayleigh has been on quite a few people’s wish-list for decades…. though it would be good if they had a clothes range too..