SHOPPERS in Chelmsford have told the Weekly News they want to see more independent shops in the city.

A total of 44 per cent who took part in our online poll, asking what people thought Chelmsford city centre needed more of, said independent traders is what they want.

Big name shops came second with 30 per cent of the vote, while more restaurants and “it is fine as it is” options both got a ten per cent share.

Bottom of the list was bars - only just six per cent of people wanted more of these.

The survey comes just a week after plans were unveiled for a restaurant piazza in Exchange Way.

Traders welcomed the results with Cliff Noakes, owner of the Essex Cider Shop in Moulsham Street, saying it was positive for business owners like him.

Mr Noakes, who opened his shop in 2011, said: “It is good to see the results favouring more shops like ours and other independents.

“Where we are based is well known for being a hub of independent traders so that and the fact we sell specialist products means custom will come our way, although it could always be better.

“I do think it is important though to have a good mix of all types of businesses from store likes ours to some big name brands so shoppers get the best choice available.”

Neil Gulliver, councillor responsible for planning and economic development, said it would be “lovely” to see more independents the city centre, but added it is a difficult challenge.

The Conservative said: “It is not all about what products you’re selling, there is plenty to do with marketing yourself and making a presence for your shop on things like social media.

“Starting a shop up can be quite ominus and there are more risks involved.

“But I think seeing more independents is something we all have a hankering for and it’s important to get the mix of them and bigger names right.”