Confidence seems to be lifting in St Margarets after nine new and refurbished businesses opened their doors on the same day.

The stores have created 50 new jobs in the area, and were officially opened on Monday, September 10, by the deputy mayor of Richmond, Councillor Lisa Blakemore.

Richmond Council and the St Margarets Traders’ Association worked together to encourage new business to the area and support existing traders.

The council contributed £4,000 from its Town Centre Opportunity Fund, which has boosted money raised through the traders association.

The funding contributed to a number of local schemes, including the St Margarets shopping bag, which aims to reduce the use of plastic bags, and the St Margarets heart logo project, which encouraged new customers to shop by promoting the catch phrase – where you have a choice, please shop with the heart.

Simon Chapman, chairman of the St Margarets’ Traders Association, said: “There are now no empty shops here, and very few areas are able to claim that. St Margarets is definitely leading the way in terms of new business, so it’s quite a celebration to have nine new and refurbished businesses formally opened in one day.

“The great support from the council is clear evidence that they are listening and reacting positively to resident’s views as reflected in the All in One Survey which rated highly the importance of local shops.”