Bury St Edmunds: Independent study paints positive picture of town’s economy

Bury town centre. Bury town centre.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
11:06 AM

Business confidence in Bury St Edmunds “remains strong”, a business leader has said, following an independent survey.

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Last night, the results of a benchmarking study which was carried out by Towns Alive (formerly Action for Market Towns) was presented to members of Ourburystedmunds, the Business Improvement District (BID) organisation.

For the study, which was commissioned by Ourburystedmunds, information was gathered from businesses and people who visit the town centre.

In many aspects of the report Bury scored well above the average for town centres regionally and nationally.

Amongst its findings were that 79% of town centre users felt cafes and restaurants were a positive aspect of Bury – an increase on the national large and small towns figures of 44% – and 33% of respondents spent £10 to £20 on an average visit to the town centre, while the averages for national small and large towns was slightly less.

A total of 51% of businesses reported that compared to last year their turnover had increased, and 46% said profitability had increased, which are both increases on last year’s figures and higher than the national averages for small and large towns.

The respondents deemed to be ‘visitors’ and living up to 30 minutes’ drive away was 49% – 8% higher than last year and 16% higher than the national large towns average.

Ourburystedmunds chief executive Mark Cordell said: “This year’s study confirmed that business
confidence in Bury remains strong and the prosperity of the town is seen as a very positive aspect which is good news for those who work or run businesses here as well as consumers.

“Of course the report has also highlighted areas that need more attention and although it recognises the work we have done regarding car parking charges, including the ‘free from three’ initiative on a Tuesday, it delivers a clear message that people want us to keep this subject, particularly pay on exit parking, at the top of the agenda.”

Ourburystedmunds said the full report would be considered by its board of directors and the areas respondents highlighted as needing improvement – including business rates, rental values and car parking charges – would be given particular consideration.

This is the third time such a study has been carried out among businesses, residents and visitors to Bury. Mr Cordell said he was “delighted” so many people had completed the survey.

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