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Bury Free Press BID Column March 2024

The wonderful hospitality sector that we have here in Bury St Edmunds has been very much in the spotlight this month with a visit from the Chief Executive of UK Hospitality Kate Nicholls. Accompanied by our MP Jo Churchill we were able to show a snapshot of our pubs, restaurants, hotels and the Greene King brewery to showcase why Bury is the foodie capital of Suffolk. It was therefore very pleasing to see Kate’s post on X with high praise after her visit to Lark and followed days later with warm words about the town and BIDs generally, when she gave evidence about town centres to a House of Lords committee.

As well as talking about hospitality, Jo Churchill also celebrated English Tourism Week with a visit to the Guildhall where she met tour guides and representatives of attractions associated with the Masters of The Air campaign which has been running alongside the Apple TV series. We’re also keeping our fingers crossed that the town’s tour guides will be successful in the English Tourism awards, which will be announced soon and thank you if you voted for them. Given that tourism is worth more than £50million to our local economy in and around Bury St Edmunds and supports over 1,000 jobs it was great to discuss these important employment sectors with Jo.

It’s been a big month for Bury St Edmunds with Primark opening in the former Debenhams building at arc shopping centre. When we’ve carried out town centre surveys in previous years, a lot of the answers to questions about what people would like to see here have mentioned Primark. And early evidence suggests that is the case. The first weekend that Primark was open, car park use in the town was up almost 20% on the previous year and we know that car park use was higher than usual on the second weekend too.

Giving people reasons to visit Bury St Edmunds is something we at the BID work hard at. During the Easter holidays we’ll be running a Dinosaur Egg Trail for all the family with a children’s competition in which they could win a lovely hamper of toys and goodies. I’m very grateful to the Bury Free Press which is supporting and promoting the trail and also to the large number of businesses who’ve signed up to be part of it. This trail has seen one of the highest levels of engagement from businesses in the years that we have been putting them on.

When the trail finishes we have a special Dino Adventure free event on April 10 in the heart of the market that day. There will be baby dinosaurs and other characters to meet and a family craft area. I hope you and your business have a good Easter weekend, whether you’re looking to be busy with customers or taking a well- earned break.

By Mark Cordell, CEO, Our Bury St Edmunds BID.


Posted 3 weeks ago