Retailers swoop on new shopping centre

THEY may have to wait more than two years before opening their doors but High Street giants have now signed for more than half the stores available at a major new shopping arcade.

THEY may have to wait more than two years before opening their doors but High Street giants have now signed for more than half the stores available at a major new shopping arcade.

Work on the 12-acre Cattle Market site in Bury St Edmunds will start in September this year and should be complete by Autumn 2008.

Major retailers including Debenhams, Top Shop, New Look and HMV have already signed up to the scheme.

And this week, those behind the project revealed that Next, H & M and Wallis had also agreed to pre-let as yet unbuilt portions of the Cattle Market development.


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More than half of the planned venue is now pre-let - something described as “exceptional” by St Edundsbury Borough Council leader and chairman of the Cattle Market Redevelopment Working Party John Griffiths.

Mr Griffiths said: “It is very exciting in many ways. There is an unusual level of demand at this stage and that reflects the confidence retailers have in Bury. Bearing in mind that no hole has yet been dug, this is exceptional.”

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He said most retailers interested in taking on a Cattle Market plot were not currently based in the town adding: “Not only will that draw in visitors to the town from further afield, which benefits existing retailers in the town, it also means that people living in Bury will be less likely to travel to Cambridge and Ipswich to shop.”

Chrissy Harrod, chairman of the Bury Chamber of Commerce, said the interest in the town expressed by the major stores was positive but said she wanted the car parking system in the town - which involves buying tickets on arrival rather than exit - changed.

She said with a major new shopping centre, visitors might not venture beyond the Cattle Market for fear of being fined for going beyond their parking ticket time limit.

“We all have to be positive about this but we would prefer to see a new pay-on-exit system put in place for car parking so that shoppers will visit the older parts of town as well,” she said.

Four companies have been short-listed to build the new Cattle Market venue and the deadline for their proposals is June 26 this year. The firm that wins the contract will be appointed by September.

St Edmundsbury is currently putting measures in place to keep life as normal as possible for those living near the Cattle Market site.

These measures include appointing a neighbourhood liaison officer, creating a series of “safe pedestrian routes” and barring noisy work outside normal office hours.

A Next spokeswoman said it would close its present store in Cornhill when it moved into the Cattle Market site.

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