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Shop owners’ anger after Spar leaves community due to area’s ‘demise’

PUBLISHED: 11:10 25 September 2018 | UPDATED: 07:26 26 September 2018

Spar shop closure on Oulton Road at Oulton Broad. Fancy Cakes cafe staff members, Brendan Harper, left, and Charlie Stewart.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Spar shop closure on Oulton Road at Oulton Broad. Fancy Cakes cafe staff members, Brendan Harper, left, and Charlie Stewart. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

Shop owners in a community on the outskirts of Lowestoft have leapt to its defence after a national retailer announced it would not be renewing a store’s lease due to the area’s ‘demise’.

Spar shop closure on Oulton Road at Oulton Broad.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYSpar shop closure on Oulton Road at Oulton Broad. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Spar in Bridge Road, Oulton Broad, which includes a Post Office branch and cashpoint, is run by Blakemore Retail, which has announced the store will close on Wednesday, October 10.

It is the only convenience store in Oulton Broad.

In a statement Blakemore said: “The decision to close the store is regrettable and with sadness, however the demise of Bridge St East over the last few years with the loss of the butchers, chemist, Red Herring pub/restaurant and Mr Jones News Shop has seen footfall dramatically decreased.

“Taking the above into consideration we have therefore taken the decision not to renew our current lease which expires in October.

Spar shop closure on Oulton Road at Oulton Broad. Broadview bar owner Sean Smith with his staff, left to right, Zoe Hart, Kelly Walton and Clare Gooch.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYSpar shop closure on Oulton Road at Oulton Broad. Broadview bar owner Sean Smith with his staff, left to right, Zoe Hart, Kelly Walton and Clare Gooch. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

“We will, as we have always done so over the years, continue to serve the community until the closure of the store.

“We would like to thank all of our customers for their support over the years.”

Most of the area’s shop owners have jumped to the high street’s defence while one shop admitted there have been changes in Oulton Broad.

Denise Thompson, from Fancy Cakes, who has lived in Oulton Broad for 35 years, said: “I don’t think the area is declining at all, it’s such a vibrant place and has become more popular since the sports bar opened.

Spar shop closure on Oulton Road at Oulton Broad.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYSpar shop closure on Oulton Road at Oulton Broad. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

“The closure of the Spar will effect the town considerably, people use that shop for everything, we use it every day for milk.”

Marcia Catts, who has lived in the area for 16 years and is manager of Crisps Barber Shop, said: “Yes, places have closed but they have since been reopened by new businesses that are either open or opening soon.

“It’s disappointing that it’s closing, now the elderly and people without cars will have nowhere close to go.”

Mark Dunthorne, 43, manager of Jeckells & Son LTD, said: “I think the area has gone down hill a little, it’s not as busy as it used to be.”

Spar shop closure on Oulton Road at Oulton Broad.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYSpar shop closure on Oulton Road at Oulton Broad. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Ben Falat, chairman of Oulton Broad Parish Council said: “It could massively affect tourism as people who come in on boats would have nowhere to get supplies.”

What do you think about the closure of Oulton Broad’s Spar?

Email abigail.nicholson@archant.co.uk

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