Bury earns praise from the town centre experts

The Whitsun Fayre beach helped boost footfall to four times a normal Monday's
The Whitsun Fayre beach helped boost footfall to four times a normal Monday's
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Bury St Edmunds town centre got a personal stamp of approval from researchers behind a positive ‘health check’.

For the second year running Bid4Bury asked the town benchmarking firm Action for Market Towns (AMT) to report on what is good and bad about Bury as a shopping venue.

Its 90 page report talks of better business confidence, more visitors on non-market days and shoppers spending more than average.

AMT boss Mike King told B4B’s annual meeting on Wednesday: “It’s a very positive report. I’ve spent the last six months compiling reports that are negative about town centres that are dying off.”

He said his three researchers on the report had never been to Bury before. He added: “They liked the feel of the town and felt they could get anything they wanted in Bury.

“All three said they were coming back for the Christmas Fayre.”

But some data countered local perceptions.

Mr King said: “We had a fair number of comments from people wanting something done about empty shops.”

But the figures showed Bury’s vacancy rate was eight per cent, which is one per cent down on last year, while the national rate is 14 per cent.

The report says 81 per cent of town centre users felt the variety of shops was good or very good, which is 25 per cent above the large town average.

It says 49 per cent of visitors spent more than £20 on an average visit, which is 17 per cent up on the large town average and 25 per cent higher than the small town average.

B4B chief executive Mark Cordell said: “It’s very pleasing to see that people are choosing to visit Bury from further afield, suggesting it is a shopping town of choice.”