As a reader of the paper, local resident and very frequent visitor to Connaught Avenue, in Frinton, I am extremely worried by the recent demise and current threats to local independent shops and cafes which, in my opinion, are at the heart of its unique character and appeal.

Their diversity, charm, character, and engagement with the community is a magnet for all who live in, or visit, the area.

Over decades they have made it a unique place to spend one’s time and money.

I am horrified to understand that their numbers are now decreasing under threat or imposition of catastrophic rent increases, sometimes up to 50 per cent.

The evidence, thus far, is that this level of increase and rent is unrealistic and unsustainable, forcing long standing and highly valued businesses to close - resulting in empty shops and the slow but steady demise of Connaught Avenue.

If this trend continues, Connaught Avenue will be reduced to a string of charity shops, empty units and major chains, just like most other characterless High Streets.

While one might point their finger at the landlords, I also point the finger at their agents, who are behind their actions.

In my opinion, these agents appear motivated by short-term greed, and have a quite unrealistic understanding of local businesses and economics realities.

They also show no respect for the area’s long-term interest or what makes Connaught Avenue special.

They are simply trying to make short-term profit at the expense of everybody else.

In due course, and with a growing number of empty shops on their hands, the landlords in question will come to realise they have been given very bad, and expensive, advice.

However, for residents and visitors alike this may well come too late, as the shops, retailers, and restaurants close or move away, causing irreversible damage to the avenue and community.

Against this background we could just sit back, blame market forces, and do nothing, watching the decline unfold before us.

However, I feel passionately that we should do what we can to prevent this on going situation.

The good, fair and reasonable agents, who perhaps give less attractive advice to landlords, but have a far more knowledgeable and longer-term vision for the area, would also benefit from this course of action, helping to retain what we have come to know and love.

Colin Danielsson