Holt traders urged to work together to make town the best in Britain

Ian Furniss, the new Holt Chamber of Trade chairman.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Ian Furniss, the new Holt Chamber of Trade chairman.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The new head of traders in Holt wants businesses to work together so the town can become the best place to visit in Norfolk and Britain.

Ian Furniss, 51, chairman of Holt Chamber of Trade, said a lack of car parking, the recession and the need for increased footfall was making it a 'tough' environment for businesses.

But despite that the accountant was optimistic about the town centre's 'commercial' future because of the range of independent shops were a unique attraction.

Mr Furniss, who was voted in as chairman two months ago, moved to Holt nine years ago from Surrey with his wife Lindsay, who owns The Tannery stores in Holt and Norwich. They have two daughters aged 16 and 22.

He said: 'I feel there is an awful lot of work we can do. Things are tough for retail at the moment and the level of footfall in the town is less than it has been in the past. That reflects the national economy.

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'There is an issue that people tend to see Holt as an affluent town and there is no question it has advantages, but the business people in Holt still have to pay quite high rents and rates and businesses are dependant on sufficient people coming into town.'

But he added: 'I think the prospects for Holt as a commercial centre are very good. We need to encourage new shops to open and ensure we are seen by everybody as one of the best places to visit in Norfolk as well as further afield.'

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Mr Furniss said it was his ambition to boost the 'mutual support' between the 90 business owners who are currently chamber members.

'I would like them to work together on areas of cost within businesses so that by having greater buying power and the sharing of information, we'll benefit from the best knowledge possible,' he added.

He also hoped the chamber could work with different groups in the town and get involved with more activities - it currently supports the Holt Festival and Christmas lights.

The lack of parking during peak visitor times was a major issue facing the success of the town centre, according to the chairman.

Mr Furniss said: 'This is so important for the vitality of the town because we are missing trade during certain times of the year.'

Anyone interested in becoming a member of the chamber should ask for Mr Furniss in either of The Tannery shops in Bull Street, Holt.

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