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'I was set to be here for another ten years': Town store announces sudden closure

PUBLISHED: 12:22 23 September 2019 | UPDATED: 14:02 23 September 2019

David Sheldrake, who runs Antimacassar antiques, says he is having to close his Halesworth store. Picture: Thomas Chapman

David Sheldrake, who runs Antimacassar antiques, says he is having to close his Halesworth store. Picture: Thomas Chapman

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A town market store has announced it will be closing its doors next month, citing reduced footfall as a key reason for its closure.

Antimacassar will closes its doors at the end of October. Picture: Thomas ChapmanAntimacassar will closes its doors at the end of October. Picture: Thomas Chapman

A town market store has announced it will be closing its doors next month, citing reduced footfall as a key reason for its closure.

Antimacassar is a collector's shop and antique store which has been based on Market Place, Halesworth, for the last five years.

Despite a successful history in the town centre, business owner David Sheldrake, 54, has said he will be forced to close the shop as "we haven't got the footfall now."

He said: "I've been in Halesworth for five years. I came here because it was a nice, little, vibrant town.

Fire and police crews at the scene of the Halesworth fire. Picture: Nick Butcher.Fire and police crews at the scene of the Halesworth fire. Picture: Nick Butcher.

"But we had a devastating fire at the newsagents about a year-and-a-half ago. Because of that we lost a lot of footfall - it's the same for other businesses."

In June 2018, Suffolk Police launched an arson investigation after a blaze broke out on Chediston Street. Stephen Wilson, 32, of Poppy Close, Loddon, was jailed for nine years in May after starting the fire, which caused £1.8 million worth of damage.

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Speaking at the time, Mr Sheldrake said: "There were obviously a few businesses directly affected by the fire which closed, but since then access to the Market Place has been a big issue.

"We certainly haven't got a big footfall up here and a lot of businesses within the Market Place have suffered as a result of what happened."

Antimacassar is currently having a closing down sale, and will be shutting its doors for good at the end of October.

Mr Sheldrake added: "To cap it, Barclays bank closed their doors back in November and we are just not getting the footfall.

"I don't want to shut, I'm saddened by it. I was all set to be here for another ten years.

Alongside the closure of the town's two banks and the fire, Mr Sheldrake suggested Halesworth's rejection of a Tesco store impacted the town.

He said: "Tesco were looking to open a store, and after a lot of meetings the town put a stop to it. Tesco pulled the plug anyway, but we would have had free parking virtually everywhere.

"Had we said yes to Tesco, possibly we would have had free parking, free cash machines - I'm sure it would have increased the footfall.

"Certainly if I was a resident, I think that would have been a regret."

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