SHOPPERS have returned to Wheelock Street since parking bays reopened.

Businesses want to say a big thank you to customers for their support.

Butcher Aidan Devaney said: "It's always nice to see Middlewich people because they are so friendly. It's been a lot more convenient for people up and down the street. We had also been struggling with deliveries so it is a lot better."

Parking bays were restored on July 4 after council chiefs agreed social distancing could be carried out without suspending the spaces due to low footfall.

Fiona Bruce, Conservative MP for Congleton, spoke to shopkeepers last month who warned the restrictions had been hurting their business.

Trade is now improving but shopkeepers say it is vital that the community continues to shop local.

Aidan's butcher shop remained open throughout the pandemic and he offered a delivery service to residents who were shielding.

"It was great to help people and provide a service," said Aidan. "We were exempt and there to fill a gap. We sell veg and eggs and all our produce and meat is produced by local people in Cheshire.

"People who used to go to a supermarket came to us and say they wouldn't go back now because the quality of our meat is so superior."

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Aidan is urging everyone to support local traders.

"It really is important that people stay focussed and support local business," said Aidan. "Most of the people who work in Wheelock Street are local people. They need to feed their families and pay for their mortgages.

"If everyone in Middlewich just spent £5 a week in the street it would help the economy so much."

Aidan wants to thank The Kinderton for their continued support.

"The Kinderton has always been very supportive and wants to use local people, supporting businesses like myself," he said. "Other businesses could follow their lead."

Adnan Ashraf, who runs Middlewich News & Post Office, said: "Business is much better than before. Parking has helped as we were cordoned off for two weeks. We were really busy before lockdown. People are coming back, business is steadily building up."