A NEW bookshop has been opened by a couple in an area full of struggling stores.

Andrew Golds and his wife Val have launched V&A Books and Gifts in The Avenue, Highams Park, despite the recent arrival of a Tesco megastore and parking pressures, which retailers complain are hitting profits.

However 63-year-old Mr Golds said the new store has been doing well.

The retired banker said: "We're very pleased so far, we have lots of people coming in.

There's never been a bookshop here so there isn't much competition either.

"It's nice to be part of the fabric of the community."

The independent shop has replaced Paul Hancock Photographic, which traded for 40 years before closing in 2008.

It is open Tuesdays to Saturdays 9am to 6pm and Mr Golds hopes to have a new shop sign installed by Christmas.