Letter: Disappointment over Haverhill Superdrug closure

It is very disappointing that Superdrug have announced this closure.

I gather the reason is simply because it wasn’t being used – as a result of competition from other local and online outlets, and the economic downturn generally.

Despite the disappointment, it is important to say that Haverhill High Street still has a relatively low rate of empty shops. That doesn’t mean we’ve got what we need – a wider range of shops in particular – but it is of some consolation in terms of the local economy.

The town council is in discussion with St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Economic Development Team about how to get the desired improvements, and how to ensure that prime empty retail space in the centre of Haverhill is brought back into use.

Two important points that come out of this news are firstly, that we all have a responsibility to support our town centre, and use it as much as possible if we want to see it thrive.

I think very carefully before heading off to Bury or Cambridge as I know that nearly all of what I need I can find conveniently in Haverhill, and I encourage everyone in the town to do the same, particularly in these difficult economic times for our local shops.

Secondly, it is really important that we provide a welcoming environment for shoppers, so that retailers are attracted to come here and stay here.

The Town Council has long argued that the High Street as it stands caters mainly for the ‘5-minute shopper’, and that the traffic and parking problems make the town centre a less attractive place to stay for longer.

That’s why we still support a pedestrianised High Street, with convenient parking that is either cheap or free.

We know there are many problems to overcome, but we also know that with some imagination and limited funding we can get there.

County Councillor Guy MacGregor is coming to Haverhill on March 11, to a public meeting at Burton End School, School Lane starting at 7pm. Councillor MacGregor is responsible for traffic and transport in Suffolk, and has rejected our call for pedestrianisation.

I would encourage the town to turn out in force to hear his reasons for this decision, and ask him what he will do to support the development of Haverhill town centre.

With a projected population increase of 10,000 over the next 20 years that would make us the fourth largest town in Suffolk, the time to start developing a town centre that will support that many people is now.

That kind of forward thinking will encourage new retailers to look at Haverhill, and will help retain those we have already.

Will Austin,

Town Clerk, Haverhill