Search

Authority hopes encouraging national retailer to Watton will help improve footfall to high street

PUBLISHED: 18:00 15 March 2017

Watton Town Council hope attracting a national supermarket to the town's high street will help improve footfall. Left to right: Stan Hebborn, vice chairman of the town council; councillor Tina Kiddell and councillor Susan Hebborn. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Watton Town Council hope attracting a national supermarket to the town's high street will help improve footfall. Left to right: Stan Hebborn, vice chairman of the town council; councillor Tina Kiddell and councillor Susan Hebborn. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Archant

Concerns for the future of a market town’s high street has seen a local authority take steps to attract a national business to open a shop.

Watton High Street. Picture: Rebecca MurphyWatton High Street. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Although Watton boasts a variety of different shops on its high street - including independent butchers, bakers and jewellers - there are currently five empty shops, an unused pub and an empty restaurant all situated in the town centre.

Since the closure of the Budgens – which fell into administration - at the start of this month, the town council has said members of the public and shop owners have commented on the reduction of the number of people in the town.

Led by mayor Beryl Bunning, the authority has invited six national chains - Asda; Sainsbury’s; Iceland; Morrisons; Lidl and Aldi - to consider establishing an outlet at Budgen’s old site.

Mrs Bunning said: “We are concerned about the future of the high street.

“The Town Council believes that if a new mini supermarket were to open it would not disadvantage any of the existing retailers but would encourage greater footfall within the high street, and perhaps car journeys to other shopping centres would be avoided.”

The town has a Tesco which is situated on Thetford Road and a couple of minutes walk from the town centre.

But Stan Hebborn, vice chairman of the council, said he fears if it is the only supermarket in the town, it may keep people from walking down the high street.

“People who live in villages and are elderly get the bus to Watton and there is a bus stop outside of Budgens,” he said. “They would use Budgens and then use the high street. Now Budgens is not there so the high street shops are noticing it.

“If people came to the high street and bought one or two items it would help the town. We need the town to supporting the high street.”

What do high street shop owners think?

Steven Smith, owner of Steven Smith butchers, said he would welcome a supermarket.

The 57-year-old said: “If there is nothing for people to come for they are not going to come.

“There are definitely less people. We need something for people to want to come to the centre for.”

Mica Nunn, 26, has run Bakers Treat for three-and-a-half years.

She said: “It has been quiet in the town over the past year. We do need some sort of supermarket which will bring people in town.

“I would welcome it for other shop owners on the high street. It would be a benefit.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Watton and Swaffham Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Watton and Swaffham Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Watton and Swaffham Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other news

The chairman of a group working to open a permanent museum in Watton has said it has “taken longer” than expected but progress is being made.

48 minutes ago

The terror attack on Westminster might demonstrate the worst in human nature but it has prompted random acts of kindness which show people at their very best.

20:34

Religious leaders in Norfolk have united in condemnation of the suspected terror attack at Westminster.

19:26

Policing plans in Norfolk and Suffolk are being reviewed following the suspected terror attack at Westminster.

Most Read

Mon, 09:48

It is one of the most beautiful and historic parts of the country, with 18,730 hectares of stunning woodland and precious trees which have lived for decades.

Read more
Forestry Commission
Thursday, February 6, 2014

It was its down-at-heel aura that first attracted Polly Grieff to the crumbling Old Manor at Saham Toney.

Read more
Tue, 06:00

A 60-year-old steam locomotive is expected to make its way through East Anglia this week on its way to a heritage railway.

Read more
Tue, 19:30

To some, they’re a little short when it comes to legroom. To others, they’re a Sixties icon still on the road half a century later.

Read more

The chairman of a group working to open a permanent museum in Watton has said it has “taken longer” than expected but progress is being made.

Read more
Breckland Council

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 5°C

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Watton and Swaffham Times e-edition today E-edition
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter