September 30 2014 Latest news:
West Suffolk senior reporter
Saturday, August 16, 2014
A further shop closure in one part of Bury St Edmunds town centre is a chance to regenerate that area, a business leader has said.
Mark Cordell, chief executive of the Ourburystedmunds Business Improvement District (BID) group, said the imminent closure of Mothercare in Brentgovel Street should be turned into a positive.
The established shop will close its doors on Monday, October 20.
There are already a number of large, empty units in that part of the town centre - in the Cornhill at the top of St John’s Street - and the empty Officers Club premises has been high on the agenda for Bury’s Town Team.
Mr Cordell said: “My concern now is the large, vacant units in that part of the town: the Officers Club, what was the YMCA shop and Mothercare, and not just because of that area around the Cornhill, but also as it’s the throughway into St John’s Street.
“I don’t want people being deterred from going into St John’s Street from that part of town. I’m hoping this is a real opportunity for the Town Team and key authorities to get together to come up with a bit of a plan for attracting new tenants.”
He said negotiations are under way about trying to reduce the footprint of Bury’s produce market in that spot to make the area more attractive for future and existing tenants and improve safety.
A St Edmundsbury Borough Council spokesman said: “We are in discussions with the Bury market traders about the potential relocation of some of the stalls in this area to improve the overall look of this part of the Cornhill.”
The desire to tackle empty units in Bury was the impetus for launching the Town Team, which is made of 10 people including representatives from the three tiers of local Government, the market, businesses, the Bury Society and Ourburystedmunds.
Mr Cordell said the street outside the old Officers Club remained “not as attractive as it could be” yet it was a lovely, paved pedestrian area.
“And the Town Team are keen to address that. It’s just getting all the players to sing from the same hymn sheet,” Mr Cordell said. “When Bury is doing so well it’s go to be the right time to attract tenants for these premises.”