IN a standing room only meeting, Redditch MP Jacqui Smith met with local retailers to hear their ideas of how increase the number of people using the town centre.

The meeting was called by Niki Radford of Bella Vita Hairdressers who runs the Non Conflict Marketing (NCM) Alliance.

Ms Smith spoke and answered questions for an hour.

She said: “I was really impressed with the commitment of everyone at the meeting. I am keen to work with them. “Redditch is a good place to work and a good place to shop and the retail trade is an important employer in the town.

“I hope residents will support our town centre shops and businesses – with some perhaps being persuaded to take a second look at shops they had once written off. After all these are tough times and we should all do what we can to help.

“The government recently gave a grant of £52,000 to support our local retail trade and it is vital that it is spent on effective projects.”

Ms Smith added that meetings like this highlight where investment can help and also where Redditch and Worcestershire’s councils, the police, and others can help support these vital businesses.

Niki Radford of the NCM Alliance said: “It was great to see so many retailers coming together to meet with our MP. We all want people to take a fresh look at what is on offer in Redditch and to support local businesses and jobs.

“Jacqui has a lot of experience in supporting the town centre and it was good to hear her views. It is crucial that the council and the Kingfisher Centre work with us to ensure that town centre shops thrive."