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What shops do we want in Felixstowe town centre?

PUBLISHED: 11:43 08 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:43 08 May 2019

The former Sweet Hut has been empty a long time Picture: ARCHANT

The former Sweet Hut has been empty a long time Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

There are now nearly 20 vacant units in and around Hamilton Road.

Permission has been sought for a restaurant inn the old Alford Bros premises Picture: ARCHANTPermission has been sought for a restaurant inn the old Alford Bros premises Picture: ARCHANT

With M&S now standing empty and no sign on the horizon of any new occupier, there are fears for the future of other larger outlets.

These are tough times for traders in town centres - and it's a common problem across the country.

A few of Felixstowe's empties are reopening - we have a new interior design shop, a new nail bar, charity shop and a barber's arriving.

But what shops do we want - and need? What shops would we support in Felixstowe and how do we see our town centre developing if it is to thrive and attract people to the resort?

Another empty outlet - a prime site in the main in the main shopping area Picture: ARCHANTAnother empty outlet - a prime site in the main in the main shopping area Picture: ARCHANT

Does the district council's economic development department do enough to try to bring new business?

It was quick to join the discussions and meet M&S when they announced they were pulling out - and council leaders made some very good points to that company about the growth of the town and the number of people who prefer to shop here rather than Ipswich. However, a few years back when Woolworth closed, it was individuals in the town who wrote to the likes of Primark and Peacocks pleading for them to fill the space.

We are all guilty of shopping online for cheaper products and convenience. But when all the shops are gone, internet prices will rise and only convenience will remain.

Shops though need to be ones that provide the goods and services we need if they are to succeed and survive.

This one looks likely to open as a charity shop in the near future. It will be Felixstowe's 12th Picture: ARCHANTThis one looks likely to open as a charity shop in the near future. It will be Felixstowe's 12th Picture: ARCHANT

Felixstowe is not immune from the problems that are hitting the likes of Ipswich and Colchester. Some towns though are coping better.

Perhaps Felixstowe needs to reinvent itself - become a town of small independents, niche shops, galleries, a sort of Woodbridge-by-the-sea. Or embrace a theme - such as a book town or a food town, with a collection of appropriate outlets to promote it and attract new visitors.

In the end the public will decide - because we have to want to shop in the places that open or more empties will follow.

Join the conversation on the Enjoy Felixstowe More Facebook page.

The old Post Office in Hamilton Road is still awaiting a new use Picture: ARCHANTThe old Post Office in Hamilton Road is still awaiting a new use Picture: ARCHANT

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