Braintree: Praise from High Streets minister

Braintree and Witham Times: Braintree: Praise from High Streets minister Braintree: Praise from High Streets minister

The High Streets minister praised Braintree's 10p parking and pop up shops but faced a grilling over business rates.

MP Brandon Lewis, whose portfolio includes responsibility for the nation’s High Streets, spent a little over an hour in the town on Saturday meeting with retailers and councillors.

His visit coincided with small business Saturday, a campaign encouraging people to support independent traders.

The tour began at St Michael’s fountain and wound its way down the High Street, stopping at Shake Express, La Maison, Mack’s Barber Shop, Milk and Cupcake Gifts and Faded before finishing in the Braintree Jewellery Village.

Braintree councillor Chris Siddall, cabinet member for prosperity and growth, talked him through initiatives such as 10p after 3, which led to an extra 50,000 cars parking in the town centre, and explained how the town was set to expand.

Liz Storey, chair of Braintree Town Team and managing director of Ignite Business Enterprise, explained how start up businesses are being given expert help and support to make a go out of it in the town.

When asked what inspiration he would take from Braintree to help other towns, Mr Lewis, who has spoken about the 10p parking in the House of Commons, said: “I am really really impressed.

“Too many councils see parking as a cash cow but this council understands."

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