There was a lot of chatter on Facebook last month as Raj’s homeware shop was found to be closed. We hope this is not permanent but the effects of shopping moving more online for our convenience is a factor we all have to face and take responsibility for.

Sunbury resident of 20 years, Pete Game, felt compelled to contact me regarding Raj’s shop:

“You don’t have to be too old to know the truth of the saying ‘use it or lose it’. We know that if we do not use our legs, body or brain we will suffer the consequences. In the same way if we don’t use the local shopping facilities we have, there will be consequences and we may lose them.
My appeal is for the people of Sunbury to use the parade of shops we have in the Avenue, Green Street and all local shops.

Perhaps you might shop slightly cheaper at Tesco’s, Wicks or other supermarkets but we should realise that if we don’t use our local independent shops they may not survive. If they close, what will we have? More flats, no heart and a loss of the character of our lovely village.

Spare a thought when you shop.Consider where you might usefully spend and assist the survival of our excellent shops ”

Peter Game Sunbury resident for 20 years.

The closure of NatWest, Shepperton, the last bank on the High Street must again make us think about our shopping habits in this digital age.

The NatWest branch is closing because people are tending to move to online banking. We live in a busy society where gratification of all sorts is at the click of a mouse; shopping, banking, chatting, booking a holiday, ordering currency for it. We could orchestrate our lives from a sofa if we chose. But what an impact this has.

Do we take our high street for granted? Maybe that little order for £3.50 on Amazon won’t make any difference to Raj’s home store. But on the other hand, if all of us think that way, that is a whole lot of little orders which are not going to go into the tills of our local shop. The same is true of so many of the services on the high street.

Without all of us making a choice to buy from the small independents our friendly shop keepers will be squeezed out. We hear of business rates and rents increasing. Brexit has without doubt had an effect on exchange rates and as a result goods are costing more as the pound is weaker. It is now that we need to act and to keep shopping local.

A visit to the village, whether Lower Sunbury or Shepperton, inevitably entails bumping into a friend or acquaintance. It means we are engaged, plugged in to what is happening locally that affects us all. This socialising and activity is vital to the energy and life of the village. The local facilities draw us into centre, the veritable heart. The responsibility for preserving this hub of shopping and socialising lies with all residents.