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Business leader slams East Ham revamp

PUBLISHED: 14:33 21 September 2010 | UPDATED: 15:25 21 September 2010

Views of High street North

Views of High street North

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A £3.7million facelift for East Ham town centre has been labelled a "death knell" for traders by a business leader.

A £3.7million facelift for East Ham town centre has been labelled a “death knell” for ­traders.

John James, secretary of Newham Chamber of Commerce, said that council plans to install new lighting, paving, seating and signage would be a “bits and pieces policy” that would bring road disruption and discourage shoppers.

Mr James said: “This is the death knell for the town centre.

“These kinds of fancy schemes don’t work.”

He said the main problem for traders was parking restrictions and that road disruption during works on the street revamp would discourage shoppers, who would then be difficult to attract back to the area.

His views came after Newham ­Council announced they would be carrying out the street revamp over the next two years as part of a regeneration programme funded by Transport for London (TfL).

A council spokesman said: “We want modern shopping facilities for residents in all our town centres.

“We expect these improvements, when completed, will improve the town centre by making conditions better for shoppers and pedestrians and mitigating the dominance of the car.’’

The spokesman added: “We expect the scheme to contribute significantly to the economic vitality and prosperity of East Ham by providing a more pleasant, safer and cleaner street environment.”

The move is being made in a bid to revive the once-thriving shopping district, which has fallen into decline in recent years.

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