Positive news for Yarmouth bosses

BUSINESS leaders packed into a Great Yarmouth casino to hear how the town was coping well despite having to deal with the effects of the economic downturn.

BUSINESS leaders packed into a Great Yarmouth casino to hear how the town was coping well despite having to deal with the effects of the economic downturn.

Bruce Sturrock, chairman of the Town Centre Partnership (TCP), opened the annual conference at Palace Casino with a speech reflecting on some of the positive developments in the town over the last year including the opening of Debenhams in Market Gates shopping centre.

He said: “This has been a difficult year for the retail trade not only in this town, but across the country. In Yarmouth there have been some ups as well as downs. There was the extension to Market Gates with the opening of the new Debenhams, while the threatened closure of the Co-Op was avoided after Vergo Retail took it on.

“And we have had some further good news that the former Woolworths units are going to be up and trading with Ethel Austin and Eau Naturale, while the Shoe Express units are going to be taken by Subway.”

Further good news came from John Pond, the town centre's crime reduction manager, who said there had been a reduction in crime with incidents involving anti-social behaviour down by 75pc since 2006.

He praised the role CCTV had played in cutting crime, with figures showing that since 2001 there had been 20,000 crimes in the town centre and that 5,093 people were arrested as a result of CCTV evidence.

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Town centre manager Jonathan Newman spoke of the progress made with the empty shops revival fund, where the town has received over �50,000 of government money to transform empty shops and boost the town centre.

He added the number of visitors to the town centre during 2008 had fallen by only 3pc, compared to the national figure of 5pc despite the recession.