Shopping development boosts town’s economy
A WEST Suffolk town is now “back in the game” thanks to a new multi-million-pound development, its MP has said in the House of Commons.
In his speech, MP for Bury St Edmunds David Ruffley said the Arc shopping centre, which cost about �136million, had improved the town’s national retail ranking, which has moved from 161 to 145.
He said a study which was commissioned had shown that residents living in the Bury catchment area were spending about �700million on “comparison goods” - such as clothes and jewellery - but without the new development the amount spent in the town would have been �263million.
He told the House: “In short, we were competing with the much bigger retail centres of Cambridge, Ipswich, Norwich and Colchester.
“We are now back in the game. Some of the early benefits and signs of the Arc’s importance can be seen in the figures produced by Experian, the financial analysts, for Bury St Edmunds since the opening of the development at the start of 2009.
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“Bury St Edmunds has moved from 161st in the country’s retail rankings to 145th.
“Some 300 new long-term jobs have been created on the site, and an unquantifiable but significant number of additional jobs have been created as a result of the development.”
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Chairman of Bury St Edmunds Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Andrew Denny, said he agreed with what Mr Ruffley had said.
He said the Arc had made the town an even bigger draw and more attractive offering for shoppers than it ever was.
“We have got a brilliant combination of one of the most up-to-date shopping centre’s in the country and within a short walk away you have 1,000-year-old historic buildings, and everything in between.
“So I think the town has got a brilliant offering, not just for retail, but as an attraction and also more generally I think for more commercial industry as well.”
Mr Denny added how there were still some challenges with the Arc, such as how it links with other parts of the town, that needed to be addressed.
Also in his speech, Mr Ruffley praised leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, John Griffiths, and Sara Mildmay-White, cabinet member for economy and asset management at the borough council, for their vision and ability to drive the project through.