Boris watching tennisSutton Guardian published a letter of mine this week responding to one residents’ erroneous view that I was in favour of a proliferation of coffee shops across Sutton. The simple answer is that I’m not, but I do like imaginative use of local businesses by individuals and community groups and would like to see this increase to fill the empty shops and give our High Streets a more independent feel. Here’s the letter in full:

Dear Sir

I am grateful to Kevin Gethin for expressing the view that I am a “remarkable man.” I just hope he did not come to that conclusion as hurriedly as some of his others. The many people on the High Street that spoke to Boris and had their photos taken with him would disagree that he was difficult to spot and the people around Trinity Square would attest to the fact that he did in fact peel off to check the tennis score on the big screen [See photo above] placed there by Successful Sutton as part of local businesses’ excellent drive to make our High Street a more inviting place to visit.

Similarly it is a shame that my celebration of a business that perfectly combines community use with good business should be seen as a call for more coffee shops. We have plenty; I would just prefer to see more turn to having a similar ethos to Tazza. Similarly I would like to see a more skilled workforce as I explained to the Conservative Chairman, Grant Shapps MP recently when taking him to see the super work that SCOLA do to bridge the gap between educational qualifications and skills expected by many employers.

Boris spoke to people at some length about the proposed closure of the post office in St Nicholas Centre, the tram, business rates and the incinerator among others. I am sure, had Mr Gethin come over to chat rather than calling from the edge of a crowd, Boris would have explained that Steve O’Connell and I are working with the Mayor to get something in place for people who want to use the bus to get back at night to Sutton from Croydon.