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Downturn to blame for losses

PUBLISHED: 11:32 18 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:34 03 July 2010

TRADING losses experienced by retailers in a Great Yarmouth street are more the result of the general economic downturn, than a lack of promotion by the borough council, according to a council officer.

TRADING losses experienced by retailers in a Great Yarmouth street are more the result of the general economic downturn, than a lack of promotion by the borough council, according to a council officer.

Tim Howard, the council's head of regeneration and environment, responded to Regent Road shopkeepers' concerns that their street, linking the town centre to the seafront, had been forgotten about in the town centre and there were no Christmas decorations to attract visitors.

He said: “People are clearly not spending anything like the amount of money they were spending. The problems have been caused by the recession and what we have got to concentrate on is helping people through this to make sure people don't lose their jobs and do all we can to help traders where we can reasonably do so.”

He added Regent Road already had a 'ceiling' of lights overhanging the road.

In any case, he said the council did not have enough money in its budget to provide Christmas lights in all shopping streets, so attention was being focused on the main town centre streets of Market Place and King Street.

Mr Howard also said although the traders paid business rates, the revenue went to the government and not local councils. He suggested traders in Regent Road called the Town Centre Partnership, which was responsible for making the town centre a more vibrant place to work and might be able to help with funding.

Last week, Anjam Pasha and Terry Woodham, shopkeepers in Regent Road, reported trade over the last nine months was 50pc down on the same period last year.

Mr Woodham, who owns Biggerland store, said many of the Regent Road stores had been forced to close on Monday mornings because of the downturn, when they would normally have been open and were trying to keep costs down by employing the bare minimum levels of staff.

Mr Pasha, who runs AF Fashions, said: “Look at the street now, it is like a cemetery. We have been forgotten about in Regent Road. They are bringing more business to the town centre with the extended Market Gates shopping centre, but at the moment we are not seeing the benefits of that with the extra visitors coming in.”

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