TOWN TEAM: ‘Great Dunmow is a lovely place to live’

Dunmow High Street

Dunmow High Street - Credit: Archant

I have heard many versions of this during the past 25 years and a heartily agree, which is why I’m still living and working here.

But what makes it ‘lovely’ or ‘great’? Is it the houses? The proximity to Stansted Airport? The green space? I would argue that a large part of it is the feeling of community and the impression that Dunmow is different, unique, a better place to live. But a key driver for this is under threat.

Imagine Dunmow without the variety of small independent shops, producers and service providers, imagine it populated only by estate agents and charity shops. Don’t get me wrong, both sectors do a great job but I personally don’t want those to be my only option.

Dunmow’s proud heritage is as a thriving market town and we all need to contribute in order to keep it that way. The town has expanded significantly over the past couple of decades and that is set to continue. Families are attracted to this little bit of rural Essex because of its character and charm but if we lose the town centre we are set to kill the proverbial goose.

Here are 7 good reasons for you to shop local, support local businesses and help ensure the prosperity of our great little town for years to come:

1. Shopping locally retains our distinctiveness. Many town centres in Britain look the same with franchises and multinationals. Our independent shops create distinctive atmosphere and stock different products, making Dunmow unique. 2. Independent shops keep traditional local products alive. They respond more quickly to the needs of local customers, stocking products to meet the changing population needs.

3. Shopping locally retains our communities. People don’t like losing shops and services in small towns but don’t equate this to how they spend their money. Shops will only survive if customers spend locally.

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4. Shopping locally creates jobs and local prosperity. Shops in our town centre create local employment and self-employment. These people in turn spend in the local economy. High streets populated with thriving independent businesses boost the values of nearby homes, according to a recent study by American Express which found house prices near a prosperous town centre have risen by an average of £40,000 more over the past decade than other properties.

5. Local independent shops invest more in our communities. Sole traders and independent stores are proportionally more generous in their support for local charities, carnivals, schools and community events. Research shows for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business 63p stays in the local economy.

6. Local shops value you more. Our High Street shops are owned by people who live in this community. They are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future. Traders survive by their reputation and repeat business.

7. Shopping locally saves you money. Out of town shops have done a good job of convincing us all that sole traders = expensive, but the evidence just isn’t there to back this up. If you add in travel, parking, fees to transport larger items home and customer time, the overall cost is often much greater. Shopping locally also saves the environment.