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Traders ‘furious’ as Christmas shop stays open in lockdown

PUBLISHED: 18:30 09 November 2020 | UPDATED: 15:30 10 November 2020

Business leaders have described the choice to keep the Christmas shop in Tavern Street, Ipswich as 'outrageous'. Picture: ARCHANT

Business leaders have described the choice to keep the Christmas shop in Tavern Street, Ipswich as 'outrageous'. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

“Furious” traders have complained that a temporary Christmas shop is staying open in Ipswich during lockdown - despite its owners saying they are selling essential items.

The Christmas shop is abiding by the law according to staff members who said they sell essential items. Picture: ARCHANTThe Christmas shop is abiding by the law according to staff members who said they sell essential items. Picture: ARCHANT

All non-essential stores have been ordered to close as part of the second national shutdown, which began last week.

However, certain stores selling essential items - such as food - are allowed to remain open.

The store in Tavern Street predominantly sells Christmas cards, wrapping paper and toys and gadgets - but also has a small stock of canned goods, toilet roll and cleaning items.

According to the shop’s manager, this allows them to stay open as an essential store.

Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central Picture: CONTRIBUTEDPaul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The manager said: “We took the shop on in August, we’ve got a contract with the landlord that we can sell essential goods.

“We are selling essential items, so we are no different to other shops in Ipswich like B&M or Wilkos.

“If you go into those shops, they have got a load of Christmas stuff as well.

“We have got paperwork from the landlord from when we got it and we can sell essential goods, Christmas, novelty and gadgets.

A range of PPE, canned food and cleaning items are for sale in the Christmas shop in Tavern Street, Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANTA range of PPE, canned food and cleaning items are for sale in the Christmas shop in Tavern Street, Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

“We’ve got food, disinfectants and PPE, so no different to Wilkos or B&M.”

Staff from Ipswich Borough Council visited the shop on Monday, November 9 but are yet to make a decision on the store’s future.

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However Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central business improvement district, said that other stores in the area are furious the shop is allowed to stay open.

The Christmas shop in Tavern Street, Ipswich has remained open during the second coronavirus lockdown. Picture: ARCHANTThe Christmas shop in Tavern Street, Ipswich has remained open during the second coronavirus lockdown. Picture: ARCHANT

He said: “I find it staggering that the shop is still open.

“Actually, what it proves that even though the vast majority of Ipswich businesses are reluctantly closed, it is actually possible for you to reinvent your business overnight, claim you are suddenly essential and remain open despite the guidance.

“To be fair to them they have a business and now, because of the restrictions, they could be forced to close.

“But, I have been inundated with businesses over the last 48 hours who are closed following the rules and are furious that this shop is getting away with it and I fully support their view.

Christmas Wonderland has been ordered to close by Ipswich Borough Council Picture: ARCHANTChristmas Wonderland has been ordered to close by Ipswich Borough Council Picture: ARCHANT

“The point is, if they are able to do it then basically every shop in Ipswich can do it.

“I can’t agree with it and businesses are furious about it.”

An Ipswich Borough Council spokesperson said: “Ipswich Borough Council are aware of this shop and we will be making further enquiries before we make a decision.”


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