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Friday, 29 July 2011

Opportunities for Rochford?

The big question is, will the substantial increase in noise that the Airport will undoubtedly cause to many residents in Rochford be worth it? Whilst many, myself included, will relish the prospect of being a few minutes way from boarding a plane to sunnier climes, I suspect many more will never use the airport and/or despair of the thought of the prospect of twenty first century passenger aircraft shattering the relative peace over the mediaeval heart of Rochford.

Over the past year or so a number of businesses have closed up in Rochford. First it was the two estate agents in West Street and then in the past few months we have lost a shoe shop, an art and photography business, and a bookshop. Whilst it is only fair to note that some new businesses have opened, they are sadly outnumbered by the shuttered windows. The pub trade is also suffering, with the Kings Head and the Rose and Crown on the market, though both are still trading.

Perhaps what is happening in Rochford is only a reflection of what is happening nationally. Wilkins Kennedy, the Accountancy Firm reported this week that retail insolvencies had jumped by 25% after all.

But if people are travelling to and from Southend Airport, will they be tempted to spend some time, and more importantly, money, in Rochford?

There are some interesting shops, there are a few places to eat, and there is even a small hotel. Rochford, generally, is an architectural gem of a small town, mostly easy on the eye and a pleasant surprise for many visitors. It wouldn't take much to start putting the town seriously on the map.

This Blog is pleased to note that entrepeneurs are already recognizing that Rochford does indeed present an opportunity. A new Restaurant "The Rose Garden" opened upstairs in "The Miley" this week, and we can expect the "New Ship" to reopen shortly as a restaurant/bar after an extensive refurbishment project nears completion and this building on East Street is returned to its former glory.

Whilst retaining its identity, Rochford easily has the ability to offer visitors a place where they genuinely wish to stay a while and spend time and money, perhaps even to stay for an evening through a modest expansion of the night time economy.

Good luck to the new Businesses, we wish you every success, and look forward to other positive new developments.