‘Rumours hurt town centre’

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NEGATIVE rumours about Mildenhall High Street are forcing retailers to put up signs convincing shoppers that they are still in business.

Joanne Rogers, Forest Heath District Council’s town centre manager, said negative rumours about town shops were ‘annoying’ retailers and giving customers a bad image of the retail offer.

“People have been talking down the high street and there has been lots of talk about shops closing that just isn’t true.

“Some shops have now taken the step of putting up signs to tell customers that they aren’t closing because people are being put off going there.

“I wish people wouldn’t because although some shops are closing, it is for very good reasons,” she said.

Ms Rogers’ response comes after Stebbings Shoes closed after 200 years in business and Card Boutique in Market Place announced it would be shutting.

Those shops had struggled because of competition –including the opening of a Card Factory outlet –and a change in the way people shop, according to Ms Rogers.

However, other stores in the town centre were still in good shape, she said.

“You would be surprised at the amount of shops and food outlets we have in Mildenhall – it’s a good offer.

“People need to support their local town centre and to do that they need to go out and spend money there – it’s use them or lose them,” she said.

Jo Mulvanerty, owner of Barleycorn in Market Place, said work needed to be done on the high street, but that there were still reasons to be positive.

“There’s no getting away from the fact that we need more but there are some lovely little shops,” she said.

Ken Thompson, owner of Bussens and Parkin, echoed Ms Mulvanerty’s words.

“We need more in the town, but personally we are doing as well as ever. I think people are just on a downer because of the whole economic climate, but we are doing fine,” he said.