Shop not yet a done deal say councillors


Poundstretcher ‘not a done deal’ warn councillors

Councillors have responded cautiously to reports that discount retailer, Poundstretcher, is hoping to open a shop on the site of the old Co-op in Jubilee Walk.

The shop, which has been empty since the Co-op shut in 2011, is thought to be on track to become a Poundstretcher in October.

They are already seeking to recruit staff from the Haverhill area.

Paul Donno, chairman of the Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, said: “Any company that employs people from the town is really good news.

“We are pleased that the building is being used. It’s not the big name we had wanted, but it’s a start. It will provide competition with other shops in the area.

“It’s always a disappointment when businesses like HSBC and Ziess leave town or shut down. I would like to think we are on the up-swing. I believe they are recruiting now.”

A spokesman for St Edmundsbury Borough Council said: “Although the Jubilee Walk property is empty, the Co-op still has responsibility for the lease of the premises and the council has a strong interest in what happens there because of any potential impact as a result of the town centre masterplan development.”

Martin Collinson, company secretary at Poundstretcher, said: “I understand their reticence to confirm anything, but it is certainly our intention to open a store in Haverhill some time in October. We are already recruiting a management team.”

Cllr Alaric Pugh, cabinet member for planning and growth at the borough council, however, urged caution, saying: “Whatever comes of this, I’m very positive and optimistic for the town. The council is trying to regain control of the site from the Co-op.”

Martin Collinson, company secretary for Poundstretcher, said: “It is our desire to open a shop in Haverhill. We are optimistic about the town’s future.

“As part of our strategy, we are looking to move to towns where we don’t have a presence and to move into bigger and better premises. We want to add quality to our estate and places like Haverhill are what we want.

“Of course, there are always hoops to jump through when acquiring any property, but we have no reason to believe this won’t come through. We wouldn’t be recruiting unless we thought the plans would come to something.”