September 17 2014 Latest news:
West Suffolk reporter
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Work is under way to improve the prospects for businesses in part of Bury St Edmunds yet to enjoy the benefits of the town’s booming trade.
Representatives from businesses along St Andrew’s Street South joined Our Bury St Edmunds chief executive Mark Cordell and councillor Mark Ereira-Guyer last week for an inaugural meeting of the group dedicated to improving the fortunes of businesses in the area.
Christened the St Andrew’s Street South Initiative (SASSI), the group will now implement a series of measures to bring more business to the area after it suffered a loss of passing trade with the introduction of The Arc.
Denny Bros managing director Daryn Reffell was instrumental in getting businesses involved in the process, and said something needed to be done.
“You can see the people on Central Walk going up and down like sheep, but we’ve got nothing down here –we’ve lost our footfall,” said Mr Reffell.
“We could look out of our window and you couldn’t count the number of people coming past our door, there were thousands. You could certainly count them now.
“I think it’s unfair really. Everybody says a lot of money is being spent on St Andrew’s Street –you can see it now – but it’s not for our benefit.”
Mr Ereira-Guyer has pledged £1,000 to the cause from his locality budget, while Bury in Bloom coordinator Melanie Lesser hopes to spruce the street up with hanging baskets.
Better parking and signage were also discussed, as was the possibility of widening the footpaths for pedestrians.
Mr Reffell said that Denny Bros had to adapt and become a “destination” for shoppers in recent years given the natural progression of shoppers to parking at Parkway, visiting The Arc and then crossing straight to the old town centre.
Penny Brice, managing partner at Rudlings Wakelam, added: “I was impressed with how many people turned up and how positive it was.
“The will is certainly there to do something because we do need to improve footfall down here and make it more attractive.”