Pop in if you want to open a pop-up

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THE idea of helping pop-up shops to temporarily fill empty premises has been welcomed in Bury St Edmunds.

The Government has said it wants to cut red tape to help high streets and one idea is to make it easier to open short-term pop-up shops. In the USA the classic pop-up is a Hallowe’en store, but they have also been used here by new businesses testing the market and major companies launching new products.

Andrea Mayley, St Edmundsbury’s economic development officer, said: “We would welcome anybody who has a pop-up idea to come and talk with us and we’ll help it happen. Perhaps we can broker an agreement with a landlord.

“There are a few hurdles and one is the landlord. If a landlord feels he might be able to get a long-term tenant he might be reluctant but a lot of them feel it makes their premises look active and attracts the long- term let.”

She said insurance was not the problem it once was because short-term policies were now available, but things like service charges and business rates had to be negotiated.”

John Griffiths, St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s leader, said: “We have tested the pop-up concept on Bury and Haverhill markets, by offering fully serviced pitches to new businesses for them to try out their business ideas. They received a very positive response from shoppers and new traders.

“We are keen to talk to existing retailers about the opportunities that property based pop-ups may offer and to hear from any individual or organisation with experience in setting them up.“

Bid4Bury’s chief executive Mark Cordell also welcomed the idea, saying it was better to have shops occupied than have empty gaps in a street.

But he added: “If you’ve got someone who’s keen to have someone in their shop they think its a good idea, but with a lot of our empty shops, they don’t seem to keen to do it.”