Suffolk: Shopping survey aims to improve Bungay, Beccles, Halesworth and Lowestoft

A research study aimed at regenerating the town centres of Bungay, Beccles, Halesworth and Lowestoft has been launched.

Waveney Business Forum has commissioned a research project into the retail performance of the market towns and the factors that might help to improve their economic performance.

Now shoppers are being asked to share their experiences in the towns and suggest how they think that they could be improved.

Christine Pinsent, of Beccles Business Association and the Waveney Business Forum committee, said: “This shopper survey would like the views of consumers in Waveney to try and understand what is happening and why, to market towns and town centres.

“Ultimately, the project aims to give the Waveney market towns a boost by understanding the shopper experience and any changes which need to be made to improve that experience.”

The aim is that the findings can by used by the Waveney Business Forum and that by working together rather than individually the four towns can act as a stronger force.

A programme of activities will then be made from the results that can be rolled out across the towns to improve the shopping experiences in all.

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The forum, which includes business associations across Waveney, commissioned the research in light of current concerns about the future prospects of the towns’ high streets.

Mrs Pinsent said that this is based on changing shopping habits among customers, which have altered with the growth of supermarkets and internet shopping, as well as issues in the towns individually and collectively, which the survey hopes to unearth.

The project was partly inspired by the government’s national Mary Portas Pilot scheme, which is helping 12 towns across the country to improve their high streets. The research is being carried out by Rebecca Ellis, of Digital Era Research.

The survey can be filled in online by visiting but paper copies are also available from Beccles Library.