‘There aren’t enough decent shops’ – Letchworth jewellers to close Christmas Eve
- Credit: Archant
One of Letchworth’s oldest shops will be closing this Christmas.
Jewellers store Baker Brothers has announced it won’t be renewing its town centre lease, with those who run it worried the council isn’t doing enough to attract big businesses.
Shop director Rebecca Church said: “We’ve found the town isn’t getting enough other decent shops in there.
“We were doing very well with the store but too many of the good stores are leaving.
“They really need to do something about it otherwise I don’t think big retail companies are going to bother with Letchworth.”
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The shop will run a closing down sale until the lease ends on Christmas Eve.
Rebecca said: “The way Letchworth has been run, we can’t see another 15 years – the length of a long-term lease – in the town.
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“We’ve been very lucky, we’ve had a great customer base. Our customers have been incredibly loyal but we have to support that with footfall.”
Rebecca said the charge for parking in much of the town centre is another deterrent for customers.
She added: “It’s shortsighted to not look at that. They just look at getting the parking fees in. You need to look at how to encourage people to come to the town to keep it alive. It’ll be sad to leave Letchworth because we’ve been here a long time. It’s not a decision we’ve made easily.”
Town management groups Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation and Love Letchworth dispute the claim that new businesses aren’t interested in opening their doors here.
Tim Roxburgh, head of property services for the Heritage Foundation, said: “In the three months to the end of September, we completed a further 13 new lettings across our portfolio including the lease for Cultivo Lounge on Leys Avenue, three new lettings at Spirella and three lettings within the Wynd shopping area.
“It’s a shame to see Baker Brothers go when things are starting to improve. We are continually promoting our retail offer and working closely with companies to cater for their needs. There is also free parking in the town centre at Spirella every weekend.”
Kailah Eglington, business executive director for Love Letchworth, said: “We are disappointed to hear that Baker Brothers are leaving, particularly as we have been working with the town and businesses to enhance the cultural offering and to develop new initiatives that are already having a positive effect on the town.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thanks to Baker Brothers for their tremendous contribution and wish them well in the future.”
The Bedford branch of the store will not be affected by the closure.