Traders upbeat despite business closures

PUBLISHED: 10:14 01 February 2008 | UPDATED: 14:01 21 May 2010

A BANK and two other prominent businesses in the heart of Bungay are set to close in the next few weeks - leaving a big gap in the town's commercial scene.

A BANK and two other prominent businesses in the heart of Bungay are set to close in the next few weeks - leaving a big gap in the town's commercial scene.

The HSBC Bank in the Market Place is closing its branch, Read's Sports and Menswear three doors along is closing and The Chocolate Box next door is also being sold.

The news has concerned Bungay Chamber of trade (which had its annual meeting on Wednesday) - outgoing president Yvonne Baynes said it was “obviously a worry, and disappointing.”

But it is understood another business is already lined up to move into the front part of Read's menswear, and she was upbeat about Bungay's prospects.

“The loss of a bank means one of the town's amenities disappears, and not everyone is going to change their bank, and the loss of the other two shops is an enormous shame.

“But this happens in other market towns as well, and I think we can look forward to at least one exciting new venture moving in (to Read's). I am sure someone will take it because it is a lovely opportunity. Shops are in good demand in Bungay. This is a sign of the times, and Bungay has had to change with the times, and we are now getting specialist shops developing.

“Now there is an opportunity for further developments - it is not all doom and gloom - Bungay is a vibrant town and traders want to come here.”

As reported last week, Richard Read said of his decision to close Read's Sports and Menswear:

“Due to the closure of the Rainbow store in the town we have seen a drastic decline in takings and we just cannot make ends meet anymore. I feel sorry for closing as Read's is not just a shop - it is a social institution in the town, but I cannot continue in this way.”

The Rainbow store in St Mary's Street is now occupied by The Factory Shop.

This week Waveney MP Bob Blizzard urged HSBC customers in the Bungay area to change to another bank now, following the announcement that HSBC would close its branch in the town on April 25.

“The bank's adverts say it is 'the world's local bank', but this clearly will no longer apply to Bungay as it abandons the town and its customers,” he said.

“I would therefore suggest that HSBC customers take their accounts to either Barclays, NatWest or Lloyds TSB, as these banks still have faith in Bungay and its people. It's the only response that people can make.”

HSBC said its decision was due to reduced customer activity, with the increase in Internet banking.

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