Bury St Edmunds: Traders call for A boards to promote Risbygate Street

TRADERS in a busy west Suffolk town centre hope to erect A-boards to attract more customers to their street.

Businesses, pubs and stores in Risbygate Street in Bury St Edmunds, hope sandwich boards will boost trade by tempting shoppers to stop.

Paul Hopfensperger, chairman of the Risbygate Street Traders Association, said many members wanted to place the signs outside their business fronts to tap into the passing trade.

“People use Risbygate Street to get to the town centre,” he said.

“They don’t even take a look in the window.

“A-boards would highlight the fact there are shops down here.”

Mr Hopfensperger, who runs the Body and Mind Studio in Risbygate Street, said public footfall and trade in general in the street had fallen since the Arc shopping centre opened nearby in March 2009.

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He added many businesses in the area had given their support to his campaign, in the hope the signs would help the street flourish.

“Everyone in the street traders association has been very positive and supported this,” he said.

“We want people to know that Risbygate Street is here.

“We want people to come and shop in our lovely street.”

Joanna Wallace, landlady of St Edmunds Tavern in the street, has applied to St Edmundsbury Borough Council for permission to site an A-board on the pavement outside her pub.

“A-boards would allow us to tell people what is available on a daily basis,” she said.

“They are not going to come in and ask.

“They make quite a big difference to our trade. It gets people in.

“A-boards are very important because we are trying to increase footfall in the street and it helps advertise what’s going on.”

Nick Duncan, a partner in Sounds Plus music store in Risbygate Street, has also given his support to the campaign.

“I very much support anything that draws more attention to the street,” he said.

“The tavern itself is a draw and an asset to the street so anything advertising its presence and the service if offers must, by logical extension, also be an asset.”

John Balaam, of Balaam’s Music, also in the street, said outlets in the area would benefit from increased signage.

“There is no question the use of A- boards helps to characterise the street as a commercial and entertainment area,” he said.

David Nettleton, borough councillor for Risbygate ward, said each application to site an A-board would be taken on its individual merits.

“I don’t mind A-boards as long as they do not obstruct the pavements or distract drivers,” he said.

“The pavement there is quite wide at some points.”