Intersport quits Bury St Edmunds town centre
PUBLISHED: 19:00 10 August 2018
A business leader has expressed his frustration following the exit of another business from Bury St Edmunds town centre.
Mark Cordell, chief executive of Ourburystedmunds, the Business Improvement District (BID) group, was speaking following the relocation of Intersport, which had been based in Whiting Street for a number of years, to Chamberlayne Road on Moreton Hall.
This comes after news of Laura Ashley’s plans to shut up shop after more than 30 years in the town.
Chancellor Philip Hammond has said in an interview today that he is considering introducing a so-called “Amazon tax” for online businesses to try to rescue struggling retailers, and also warned the high street would have to change for good.
Mr Cordell expressed his frustration at the “main players” - the Government, council and landlords - for, he claimed, not doing more to improve the business environment, but added he was encouraged by Mr Hammond’s comments.
Mr Cordell said: “For every purchase online from a large corporation with no links to Bury St Edmunds, it detrimentally affects town centre traders.”
He also said there needs to be a commitment from the local community “to use their town centre”.
A spokesman for St Edmundsbury Borough Council said the town centre is a place people come not only to shop, but to work, enjoy meals out or meet for coffee and to visit the attractions, but there are improvements that could be made, in particular better connecting the Arc and historic town centre.
“That is why we bought the former Post Office site and are looking to redevelop it in a way that keeps the historic front but improves and widens Market Thoroughfare and creates a new frontage onto St Andrew’s Street South, which we believe will encourage other investment and change in the area.”
He added despite “the doom and gloom” there was lots of interest in the empty units, new businesses moving into the town, and that the shop vacancy rate for the town centre was 5.5 per cent against a national average of 9.2 per cent, as of the end of July.
Mr Cordell added: “It’s pleasing to see new businesses opening in the town centre, such as the reopening of the Queen’s Head building by local entrepreneur Ben Hutton who own’s Ben’s in Churchgate Street and Kaspa’s who are bringing their dessert restaurant to the Cornhill.”