Empty shops to be used as billboards

A SUFFOLK town is hoping to buck the recession by turning empty shop fronts into giant billboards in a bid to lure investors and retailers into the area.

Laurence Cawley

A SUFFOLK town is hoping to buck the recession by turning empty shop fronts into giant billboards in a bid to lure investors and retailers into the area.

The idea is part of a wider scheme to promote Bury St Edmunds nationally which will include putting up posters at major mainline stations in London.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council has agreed to hand over �20,000 towards the initiative, in which empty shops, such as Woolworths, will have a range of promotional material installed inside spelling out the virtues of the Suffolk market town.


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About �5,000 will be spent filling empty windows with striking display material designed to promote Bury.

And in Abbeygate Street, one of the town's busiest shopping streets, property owners could be asked to spruce up their buildings if the council feels they are having an adverse impact on the town.

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The idea of bringing empty flats above shops back into use will also be looked into.

Sara Mildmay-White, chairman of the council's Bury area working party, which approved the scheme, said: “The opening of the Arc shopping centre has given the whole town a boost, and it has also seen a turnover in tenancies.

“Although there is interest from new businesses wanting to come into town, it is important that Bury continues to be an attractive location, and I am very pleased to be working with the Town Centre Management to build the best impression.”

The schemes will be overseen by the Bury Town Centre Management group, which is responsible for promoting the town.

Steve Peters, the town centre manager, will be using some of the funding to promote Bury both in London and in the eastern region.

The plans include putting posters up about Bury as a shopping destination at a number of London stations including Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, Victoria and others.

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