Readers have voiced their concern for the future of Sudbury’s high street after two more retail chains announced their imminent closure.
Over 50 people expressed their disappointment and frustration on Facebook after we asked whether they would continue to shop in Sudbury or turn to other towns.
Last week menswear retailer Burton and betting shop William Hill confirmed they would be closing in the coming months leaving Sudbury’s high street with two more empty shops.
President of Sudbury’s Chamber of Commerce, John McMillan, said that the future of the high street is an ‘ongoing battle’.
“Most towns have now got a lot of empty shops,” he said.
“At the moment the biggest issue we have got is that retail chains aren’t opening any new stores.”
He said that shops need to have a greater focus on their target market in order to survive.
Babergh District Councillor, Simon Barrett, who chairs the Sudbury Steering Group, said the closure of high street chains is due to the growth of online shopping.
“It is in our own hands,” he said.
“If we want to make it successful and make it good we have to use it.
“People are shopping online hence why we have this problem.”
But he did agree that improving the nightlife and introducing a cinema would be a worthwhile investment to the town.
Sudbury Town Manager, Jane Hatton, said that shopping locally has huge advantages for the local economy.
But she agreed that business rates are a big concern for high street businesses.
“It is just completely unfair,” she said.
“In comparison to a lot of towns we still have very few independent shops.
“It is getting that right mix.”
She said figures show that when £1 is spent locally around 50-70p goes back into the local economy according to research from the Centre for Local Economic Strategies.
“Greedy landlords charging extortionate rates and charity shops getting generous discounts are killing any chance of Sudbury ever becoming the vibrant market town it should be.”
“Sudbury is losing its identity! There seems to be more emphasis on financially exploiting visitors’ desire to park for long periods of time...is there even a worthy or serious development plan for Sudbury?”
“In fact limited describes Sudbury completely. Small minds. Big rents. Huge taxes. How could anyone open a business here.”
“Sudbury is awful from a younger generation’s point of view. We get promised a cinema and more and it never happens. The town centre needs a rethink and big development areas are needed.”
“I would miss the delights of small market towns like Sudbury so please support your shops, walk into town and take time to appreciate Sudbury.”
“Nothing to keep shoppers in Sudbury anymore. Colchester, Bury or Ipswich for me.”