December 12 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, September 28, 2013
A town-centre manager has called for free parking as four businesses are put up for sale in the same street.
The businesses in Bury Street, Stowmarket – Simpsons Toy Shop, The Card Centre, Stowmarket Bookshop and Starmark Sports – have all complained that fewer shoppers are spending money.
Sharon Brown, town-centre manager for Stowmarket Town Centre Partnership, has said more needs to be done to get people into town.
She said: “(Parking rates) are something which the partnership will continue to try to influence.
“It’s been highlighted in various government reports – it’s the big one that everyone mentions. Parking is reasonably priced in the town but we would welcome free parking.”
Mike Tarbard, 63, owner of Starmark Sports, has traded in Bury Street for more than 25 years. He said the shop had been put up for sale as he was looking to retire in two years’ time.
“Hopefully the store will not close and it will carry on but it will not be me running it,” he added. “Since I have been here I keep saying to the district council: do something about the parking but they do not want to know. They keep trying little schemes but they do not work.”
Phil Baker, from Simpsons Toy Shop, said: “The way Stowmarket is we cannot see it picking up which is a shame. Taking a walk through town, there’s hardly anybody around – that’s how the town is.”
A spokeswoman for Mid Suffolk said the council worked to support traders, provide events to attract people to the town and fund on-the-job training for youngsters.
She said: “Car park fees were recently changed so that shoppers can stay longer in the car parks for the same amount of money and prices of season ticket were reduced by 40%.”
Stowmarket Bookshop and The Card Centre declined to comment.