Everywhere you turn in Shepperton at the moment there is change. By the time you get this Barclays Bank will be shut and the BP petrol station will be undergoing transformations. The appearance of a supply of Percy Pigs on the High Street seems to be pretty popular, but the threat of the supermarket development at the end of the High Street is most certainly not. Petitions abound in local shops against the opening of a Morrisons store. Do we really need 3 supermarkets on such a small High Street? What will the effect be on local independent stores?
Another rumour surrounds Barclays. Branches of Barclays in other towns have closed to make way for Sainsbury local. Shepperton would surely be in uproar! The slightly more popular rumour is that Wetherspoons may be opening on the site.
So rumours and concerns abound. Just remember that you need your local independent shops and they need you. When it comes to supporting the community, they are the first to raise their head above the parapet. You do not get that same community concern from the larger chains.
At the other end of the High Street we have seen a project which is exemplary in pulling together the community. The Renfree corner regeneration project was officially opened by Mayor Suzy Webb in July. The new bench has been funded by the Shepperton Ladies club to mark their 50th anniversary. J Shopland installed it for free. Plants have been donated by individuals. Shepperton Youth Club made the cake for the celebrations. There are too many groups and individuals involved to name them all here, but we salute you all.
Time was volunteered and a huge amount of work went in. This is Civic Pride and at its best!
Round the corner, The Red Lion is undergoing major works and will open in September. For two of the new restaurateurs Steve Orme and James Thomson taking on the lease of the Red Lion has particular significance as they were brought up in Shepperton and met one another at Thamesmead and before setting off around the world to learn their trade. The Red Lion has drifted from one owner to another over years now, each making their mark, in the case of the old wisteria’s destruction, sadly not always positively. We wish the new team luck and look forward to seeing the revival!