Research by The Chronicle shows that Thornton Heath has the most independent shops in Croydon and more than almost every other London neighbourhood.

Analysis shows that a total of 84 per cent of the shops in CR7 are independently owned, a higher proportion than anywhere else in London apart from Bethnal Green (89%), Stoke Newington (87%) and Southall (86%), writes David Fell.

While the number of independent shops both nationally and in the capital has been squeezed, Thornton Heath is one of the few neighbourhoods where their numbers have remained almost completely unchanged from five years ago.

But the High Street hasn’t stood still and a third of retailers in CR7 are less than five years old, the sixth highest rate of turnover in London. Where businesses have closed, for the most part they’ve been replaced by new independent shops.

Online shopping has taken its toll on those selling books, music and clothes, while banks such as HSBC on the High Street and Barclays by the Pond, have closed in favour of online banking and shopping centres. But as one door closes, another opens for someone else. The last few years have seen the number of places to eat and drink on the High Street multiply. It’s been a similar story in Thornton Heath with the arrival of Costa, and two new independent cafes on the Pond.

And with KFC taking over the old Barclays Bank and Antic London re-opening the Thomas Farley, theshift towards a High Street where we entertain ourselves rather than buy stuff looks set to continue.

*Let’s hope by the next edition Dellys new Caribbean restaurant, the yet unnamed wine bar on Brigstock Road, and the bright salmon building called Patty Palace also on Brigstock Road will have opened!