A SHOPKEEPER is frustrated at comments online claiming that there are no independent shops in Evesham.

Natasha Howell who owns the gift shop Truffle and Podge in the Vine Mews in Evesham says: “I’m fed up with people commenting with things like ‘I wish there was independents in this town.’" Miss Howell says the comments are on Facebook pages such as ‘Spotted in Evesham.’ "People always moan about Evesham" she said.

Miss Howell said: “We are here, they are just not supporting us. They just seem to window shop but not come in.”

“If I had a pound for every time someone said ‘isn’t that pretty? ‘wouldn’t that suit so and so’, but it never transfers into anything. Many of us won’t survive,” she added.

“People want independents but they just want us to look pretty, said Miss Howell."

Miss Howell says she recently went from opening all week to opening three days a week because of the lack of footfall her shop gets.

“With the running cots it made absolutely no sense to be open.”

Miss Howell commented that many people are buying gifts on websites like Etsy or Offthehighstreet which she says are “not even hand made half the time.”

Miss Howell makes bespoke hair pieces, veils and other accessories for both bridal and general use.

“All my orders come from online so I’m considering giving up the shop.”

Miss Howell claims the opening of the Waitrose store in Evesham has had a detrimental effect on the area of Vine Mews which includes a selection of small shops. She says other shops have started closing early due to a lack of footfall."It's very sad, we have had to really limit the hours we open."

Miss Howell told the Evesham Journal: “We sell things that you don’t find in the big shops.”

Phil Merrick, Head of Economy and Environment at Wychavon, said: “Bringing Waitrose to Evesham provides another reason for people to visit the town centre, both from within Wychavon and further afield. This provides an opportunity for businesses to benefit from this additional footfall by encouraging shoppers to visit their store, explore the wider town centre and what they have to offer.

How individual businesses choose to take advantage of this though is a matter for them. The arrival of Waitrose is also a sign of confidence in the town centre that will encourage other inward investment in Evesham."