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Suffolk Business Awards 2018 Tickets

Businesses in Suffolk and Essex count cost of the ‘Beast from the East’

PUBLISHED: 13:22 01 March 2018

The Giles statue in Ipswich town centre.

The Giles statue in Ipswich town centre.

Archant

The retail and logistics sectors are continuing to bear the brunt of the impact on business from the big freeze.

Most shops have continued to trade but footfall in town centres has been badly affected and issues with restocking could emerge if the cold snap continues.

Mike Sorhaindo, centre manager at the Sailmakers shopping centre in Ipswich, said: “We are coping well despite the conditions but it is fair to say that footfall has been affected.

“A lot of people have clearly decided not to venture out, and the closure of a number of schools has also no doubt kept some people at home.”

However, he said that the centre was continuing to trade normally, with only one of two small shops having to close due to people being unable to get into work, and stores were also continuing to be restocked despite some deliveries arriving later than planned due to conditions on the roads.

“We are very grateful to staff for making extreme effort to get in to work,” he said. “Our priority is to ensure that customers can use the centre safely and we are working to keep the entrances clear.”

Mr Sorhaindo added that it was harder to assess the financial impact on individual stores, but said the centre did at least provide some protection from the elements for those shoppers who were turning out.

Paul Davey, head of corporate affairs at the Port of Felixstowe, said: “Over the last couple of days we have been affected for periods of time, and people have been busy with de-icing. However, the port is partially open.”

Rail operations were working “quite well”, he added, although on the road haulage side there were parts of the yard currently without access due to the volume of snow.

Denise Rossiter, chief executive of Essex Chambers of Commerce, said: “Essex businesses are very resilient and cope with everything that is thrown at them. Bad weather is just another thing, but it does show the need for a more robust transport system.”

The Government also needed to invest to support town centres, she added, with the bad weather adding to the pressures faced by retailers.

“Our high streets are degenerating, not regenerating, and if things go on as they are there will come a point – although not yet – when businesses will give up and we will be left with nothing but coffee shops and eateries.”

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce said that, like many businesses, it was making use of technology enabling many of its people to work from home.

Spokesman Paul Simon said: “It’s about being a pragmatic and caring employer as well as serving members. It’s more or less ‘business as usual.”

However, he added that the issue with the weather underlined the need for more robust broadband infrastructure in the county, without the “not spots” currently affecting some areas.

The parents of a 15-year-old missing girl from Ipswich have made an emotional appeal for her to come home.

Suffolk police have issued a renewed appeal for witnesses after man in his 20s was stabbed in Ipswich.

A 36-year-old man from Ipswich has been jailed for seven-and-a-half years after being convicted of an attempted rape and three sexual assaults.

Youngsters across Ipswich are set to be given free iCards for the summer holidays which will allow them to enjoy activities across the whole six week break.

Drama, art and maths lessons were on the timetable when our photographer visited Felixstowe’s Grange Community Primary School in 1990.

A man has avoided going straight to jail for selling counterfeit goods on Facebook.

A private company has been awarded a five-year contract to run the NHS 111 helpline and out of hours services in Suffolk and north east Essex.

Suffolk and north Essex will bask in sunshine next week and temperatures could reach a scorching 30C (86F) - making the region as hot as Spain.

A woman discovered an intruder inside her Ipswich home on Wednesday and ran to a neighbour to raise the alarm.

Police are appealing for information after jewellery was stolen during a daytime burglary in Hintlesham.

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