A newly published report argues the opening of a new shopping centre has not affected trading for family-run businesses.

Following pressure from disgruntled traders feeling the squeeze of raised shop rents, Epping Forest District Council commissioned Lichfields to analyse the effect the Langston Road shopping park had had on The Broadway in Debden.

The consultants found that little had changed on the shopping parade since it was last assessed in 2009.

In its conclusion Lichfields wrote: "The results show that most indicators have not changed significantly between 2009 and 2018.

"The number of retail outlets has reduced. Customers views on the centre are mixed, but this has not changed significantly. The main change relating to customer views relates to the perception of safety and security.

"Evidence suggests the trading performance of the centre has improved in line with population and expenditure growth.

"This growth between 2009 and 2018 appears to have offset trade diversion from the centre to Epping Forest Shopping Centre."

Whether this picture of The Broadway is one recognised by traders on the strip seems unlikely.

Since Langston Road opened in late 2017, several shops along The Broadway in Debden have been forced to shut down.

Hardware store Pirates Den, Eye Gee Opticians and Ice Events all closed in 2018, citing increased rents and poor trade as the reason why.

The study did find that people wanted a greater choice and better quality of shops in Debden.

In a telephone survey conduct by the council last year, 43 per cent said they had visited The Broadway in the past three months, with 85 per cent of respondents from an IG1 postcode.

While The Broadway traders may be feeling the pinch, the road continues to be ranked one of the highest shopping centres in the district above Waltham Abbey, Chipping Ongar and Buckhurst Hill.