THE EFFECT a new shopping centre is having on independent traders will be re-assessed by the council.

Since Epping Forest Shopping Park opened on Langston Road, Debden at the end of last year, shop owners on the nearby Broadway have seen a marked downturn in trade.

Many have reported taking in £2,000 less a month than in 2017, despite assurances from Epping Forest District Council in 2016 that the new shopping centre would bring more shoppers to the Broadway.

As stores including Pirates Den close and others, such as Save the Children, prepare to lock their doors indefinitely in the face of 30 per cent rent rises, the council has agreed to take another look at the struggling promenade.

Writing to councillor Steven Murray, who represents the Loughton Roding ward, director of neighbourhoods and deputy chief executive Derek Macnab explained: "As part of the planning application process for the Epping Forest Shopping Park, an impact assessment was undertaken to assess the effect on other local retail centres, such as The Broadway.

"Given that this was commissioned several years ago and the general economic circumstances that now prevail, may well be different and recognising that there has been an amount of redevelopment in the area, both residential and commercial, another study would seem appropriate.

"However, the Shopping Park is not yet fully operational, with three of the 11 units currently vacant. Negotiations are taking place with a number of prospective tenants.

"Therefore, it makes sense to undertake the new impact assessment when the Park has been fully operational for at least six to nine months i.e. towards the end of 2018."

Tom Barwick, owner of World of Pets, thought Mr Macnab's proposal was too little, too late.

He said: "It is ridiculous. By the end of 2018 we won't be here. They need to do something now.

"It seems that they are just waiting for us to fail. My shop is the only one on the Broadway that has been here from the start. It is part of the history.

"If it carries on like this we won't be here by the end of the year."