Shoppers continue to shun precinct

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Latest business news from the Suffolk Free Press,, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

Trade lost while improvements were made to Sudbury’s Borehamgate precinct is yet to recover, businesses have claimed.

The makeover, which cost £210,000 and was completed more than six months ago, was much needed but drew complaints as customers avoided the shopping centre and work over ran.

Chris Evertt, manager at Coral betting shop, said the disruption caused by the removal of hundreds of floor tiles and regular drilling had kept punters away.

“We are nowhere near as busy as we used to be and we just have not recovered the footfall that was lost,” she said.

“I think it is down to habit, because people got used to going elsewhere. But the centre does look a lot better.”

A number of shops reported drops in trade of around 40 per cent during the work, which ran between October 2012 and June last year.

Slippery floor tiles were replaced, a new ramp and railings put in, and benches changed.

Jill De’ath, manager at Milpets, was among those badly affected by the work – initially budgeted to cost £168,000.

“Nobody has mentioned how different the precinct looks and I think the work discouraged people from coming here,” she said.

“I also think the bus cuts have played a part.”

Sharon Buckler, manager at Cartridge World, said although the revamp was a vast improvement, visitors still struggled with the slippery floor tiles in wet weather.

“People still find it slippy and I have nearly fallen over myself,” she said.

“I do think it has got busier though, but a big part of that is the return of the fish and chip shop.”

Bradley Wright, from Marimba, said he thought the centre was now “safer and smarter”.

The Local Shopping Reit, which owns the centre, plans to revamp the front and rear entrance in the coming year.