Haverhill shop Morley’s closes in 50th year

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A Haverhill store is shutting in the year of its 50th anniversary of being in the town.

Clothes shop Morley’s will close on March 31 as the store owner shuts it to boost his retirement plans.

On Monday (January 27) the Queen Street store began a 20 per cent sale off all stock.

Four part time staff and one full time staff are employed at Morley’s, with four of them from the same family.

All will be made redundant.

Store manager David Jaggs, 45, from Ovington Place, was born above the shop and has worked there for 28 years, managing it for eight.

Also working at the shop, which has been in Haverhill since 1964, are his wife Tami, 42, son Kieren, 21, and father Peter, 72.

“The owner of the building is retiring, this is his pension and he wants to cash in so we don’t blame him,” said David.

“The reaction from people has been amazing – there’s been an outpouring of grief from all over the town and people have been very kind.

“I was born above the shop and it has been a part of our family life so we have some very fond memories.

“This is the end of three generations of our family being involved with the store and it will be difficult for us, but I’m a person who wants to get out and find a job.

“We’re quite lucky that the market is slowly picking up so fingers crossed we will find something.

“Haverhill town centre has been disgraceful compared to other towns.

“We had a week off recently and went to Sudbury, Bury St Edmunds and Saffron Walden, and all three were thriving.

“The problem here is the CB postcode means we’re linked to Cambridge and thus the rates are high for this town.

“Unless you’re a charity shop or a fast food restaurant or a betting shop you won’t succeed in Haverhill.

“The town’s in a really sorry state at the moment.

“We pay almost what we would in Cambridge because of the CB postcode – if we were an IP postcode the owners would let them cheaper.”

Town clerk Will Austin rejected the claims that the town centre is in decline, and said he expects an announcement ‘imminently’ about a ‘national chain’ that will move into the vacant former Co-Op store in Jubilee Walk.

He has also heard informally that another national chain will likely move into the former Superdrug High Street store.

Nevertheless, Mr Austin has written to St Edmundsbury Councillor for Clare Alaric Pugh to implore the council’s economic development team to provide short term assistance to the town centre, such as helping lower rents, rates and parking charges.

“I’m not sure that we should take the closure as a sign of a pattern of failure of the town centre,” he said.

“Morley’s are an example of another type of supplier that has succeeded in the town centre and had a presence here for 50 years, although there is a need for a much wider retail offering.

“The community will be involved in developing the town centre masterplan for Haverhill which is revolutionary in helping to ensure a better future for our town.

“The future of the town centre is partially the town’s responsibility, and there’s more that we as a town can do ourselves.

“I try to do as much of my shopping locally as possible, and with a minor compromise here and there I hardly ever go to Cambridge or Bury St Edmunds and there’s very little I get online.

“I would suggest we lose shops because we don’t use them, and as with the post office and village pub everyone laments them when they’re gone but these are often the people who didn’t use them, so we need to shop locally.”

For all the latest news see today’s (Thursday, January 30) Echo.