Blow as shops close in North Walsham

The closure of two long-established Market Place shops in North Walsham is not necessarily a sign of decline, according to the town's chamber of trade chairman.

Colin Page said last week's unexpected closure of Eastell's green-grocer for repairs, and the imminent loss of the nearby Dragonfly women's fashions shop were bad news for North Walsham in the current tough economic climate but businesses shut for a variety of reasons, not just because of poor trading.

Greengrocer Geoff Eastell could not be contacted this week but a notice in his window states that the shop will be closed until further notice 'due to ceiling and electrical fault'.

Dragonfly, which also has an unaffected branch in Holt, is advertising a 'closing down sale' and is expected to shut sometime next month, or in July.

Mr Page said some Market Place businesses, including his own tobacco and confectionery shop, were thriving and a new business, selling fashion accessories, had opened this week on the town's Mundesley Road.

But Mr Page called on landlords to review tenancy agreements drawn up in the 'heady days of the 1980s' when he said people were clamouring for business premises in the town.

Full-repairing leases – requiring tenants to carry out all repairs at their own expense – coupled with high rents, deterred people from taking on empty shops and were not realistic in 2011.

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'They need to think again. It doesn't do landlords or the town any good when premises are left vacant for long periods,' said Mr Page.

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