Raynes Park is “on the up”, it was declared this week after new figures revealed it was bucking the economic gloom by having nearly a full complement of shops open for business.

SW20 was named as having London’s best performing high street in a study of 500 smaller town centres across Britain, after it was found to have just two per cent of vacant retail units - compared to a London average of 10 per cent.

The leader of Merton Council, Stephen Alambritis – himself a former spokesman for the Federation of Small Business lobbying group, welcomed the news.

He said: “This is good news for the area and proves we are getting the right balance as between land for businesses and land for housing.

“Our intention is to ensure this goes for other town centres in Merton"

The capital is the only area where the number of empty shops has fallen in the last year, by just over half a per cent.

Outside of London, the number of empty shops is on the rise, according to research by Local Data Company.

Rod Scott, who represents Raynes Park ward, added: “There’s no doubt Raynes Park is on the up.

“There’s a good mix of strong retail brands – like Waitrose and Starbucks – but also great independent shops that add to the charm of the area.

“Add to that good schools, great transport links, two beautiful parks, a new medical centre, a much improved street scene paid for by the previous Conservative Council administration, and it all adds up to being a great place to live, shop and work.”

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