A new five year term for Southend Bid has been welcomed as a lifeline for businesses - and the High Street as a whole.

While High Street struggles for now, visitors numbers seem to be staying buoyant, partly thanks to the efforts of Bid, businesses believe.

Zelda Bibby manager of Yours Clothing isn’t worried about the apparent downturn in the High Street’s fortunes.

She said: “I’ve worked in the High Street for 30 years and I think it comes in waves. We’re probably missing differing companies coming into the High Street.


It's a tough time for retailers

“We do seem to have a lot of banks and coffee shops. I’d like to see more fashion stores. There are quite a few empty shops but without Bid it would have been worse.”

Ms Bibby added: “I think if Bid carries on with the same path we will be alright. My worry would have been if we hadn’t got another term.

“We would have seen a lot of things disappear like the Italian Festival and the lights and flowers make the town look pretty. We’ve also got the street rangers who have made the town a lot safer.”

Read more: ‘We need new ways to boost High Street’

Glynn Morgan, from Chinnerys pub, said: “Southend Bid has made a massive difference to the feel of Southend, hosting annual events such as six weeks of firework displays, the Italian festival, Purple festival, and Christmas lights to name just a few.

“The website they have set up has enabled us and others to reach a far wider audience for our events which has increased visitors to both our venue and the town.

“In the five years of the Bid’s existence it has made a huge difference.”

Ann Holland, councillor responsible for culture, tourism and the economy also praised Bid’s efforts to boost the town centre.

She said: “We’ve been working with Bid to try to attract more people and make the High Street as a attractive as ever.

“We do seem to have more people coming in.

“There’s more people visiting the shops.


Another empty High Street property

“There’s a concerted effort to get as many people into the High Street on the way to the seafront so that businesses benefit.

“It’s very difficult when you are dealing with private companies but we’re doing all we can to encourage them in.

“We’re not helped by internet sales but I think if we have niche shops people will visit those shops rather than going online.

“Some things you need to see before you buy and I find it is such a hassle having to send things back that aren’t suitable .

“We’re also doing what we can to make empty shops look attractive like the BHS store. I think that helps.”