IT is sad seeing so many empty and abandoned shops in Colchester.

It is even more sad to learn that some tourists have complained regarding the drink and drugs fraternity who take over at a certain time of day.

I have been talking to a friend. She was, until retirement, a successful businesswoman who, for years, ran a shop in the town.

She has suggested a solution so simple and obvious that I am surprised it was not implemented long ago, before Colchester began to turn into a ghost town.

The solution is best explained as follows:

Question: When do shops close for the day?

When everybody has gone home.

Q: How many late night shopping event do we have?

A: One, at Christmas. And it's packed out.

Q: How many shops operate staggered hours for staff, thus providing jobs for people who cannot work during the day due to childcare?

A: None.

Q: How much drunken or loutish behaviour is seen on the streets during the usual 9am to 5.30pm?

A: An awful lot less than is seen once the shops close and the "undead" move in.

Q: How many people would appreciate being able to shop in the town centre once they leave their workplace or get off a train?

A: An awful lot.

My friend has seen this evening opening in many other countries. It works.

Out-of-town shops do it and in the process are robbing the town centre.

The message is simple: Wake up.

David Morton

West Street, Rowhedge