High street retailers have defended their efforts to increase footfall in the town centre following claims they aren’t doing enough.

Halstead Chamber of Trade Vice Chairman Michael Portway said businesses are “not helping themselves” by not joining the chamber and warned it could fold completely if traders don’t sign up.

Business owners have hit back at his comments, saying that being part of the chamber is not the only way to improve footfall.

Owner of Nell’Amore Bridal Wear in High Street Lauren Jeffs said: “We are all trying to do our best for Halstead by growing our businesses - we are just doing it from a different angle, like word of mouth and always fighting for clients."

Mr Portway said the Chamber’s monthly meetings will now be quarterly due to lack of attendance and they will only fund this year’s Christmas tree events and the window display competition.