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Nottingham Post
Nottingham Post
Joshua Hartley

Concern over 'disappearing' shops in Bulwell where shoppers say the 'pandemic has finished the high street off'

Shoppers in Bulwell have spoken of the decline of the town centre - saying 'the pandemic has finished the high street off'.

People have been speaking about the sorry state of the centre after the closure of the latest business in the town was confirmed.

NatWest will close on May 26, following popular food store Budget Wise's decision to shut in the near future due to low footfall.

There were also rumours that Boots was due to close, but the retailer confirmed that the store will remain open with opening hours reduced by half an hour each day.

Shoppers in the town centre said the pandemic had 'finished' off the town centre.

Retired Janet Davis, 67, who lives in Bulwell, said: "I have been in and out of Bulwell and travelled around a bit, but it has changed a lot.

"All the empty shops aren't great for the town, personally I think gives the area a bad impression - look at it.

"Some things have opened but not enough to replace what is going, the pandemic has finished the high street off.

"The small businesses leaving is sad, next week it will be another one though."

Local councillors said shopping habits had changed but that they were working to bring a vibrancy back, supporting the town's market and its traders.

Shoppers, meanwhile, said the decline of the centre had been "depressing".

Michael Steels, 70, who lives in Bestwood but comes to Bulwell to shop, said: "I think it is depressing to see everything going from the town.

Michael Steels, 70, pictured in Bulwell town centre. (Joseph Raynor/ Nottingham Post)

"It will be a nothing place soon with the market stalls going and the prices for everything going up.

"Nothing new comes here anymore, because they can't afford to, there's not the business.

"There used to be a lot more here but now shops suddenly shut down, they just disappear."

Bulwell residents recently told Nottinghamshire Live that they wanted something different to be brought to the town to replace its closed-down Argos.

Suzanne Parker-Hatton, 44, who is originally from Bulwell but lives in Hucknall, said there now was little choice in the town for shoppers.

"I always come back here and to the shops but there's not a lot of choice anymore," she said.

"You hear about loads of shops closing down, but its mostly the small ones that are going.

"Now the NatWest is going and Budget Wise."

She added: "There are a few opening but they're not really ones that are going to bring people in I don't think."

Market stall holders, though, said that there were still people coming into the town but that "they were finding less to bring them back".

Janet Holmes, 72, who lives in Lincoln but travels to Bulwell three days a week with her egg stall, said: "We've been here 27 years and it's the emptiest I've ever seen it.

"Some days you could shoot a gun straight through here and you wouldn't hit anyone it's that empty.

"People are still coming into town but there's not a lot here for them anymore.

"It's an awful lot of closures, it is a small place. The market as well doesn't even look like a market anymore, shops and stalls are gone."

Chris Brown, 44, whose family have had a stall at Bulwell market for 23 years, said: "The high street is facing decline, now we have banks shutting like the NatWest because of a lack of people and it's a vicious circle. That's going to reduce footfall as well.

"It's more to do with Covid I think than anything else, I think there are still people who are hesitant to come back out.

"People still come into the town but there is less for them to find and Covid has obviously exaggerated that with the closures."

The Stapleford resident added: "The thing with Bulwell as well is that this is not just a shopping area, the high street and market have a community aspect that comes along with them - people used to come here and meet each other."

Another stall holder thought that the town had experienced a lot of change even before Covid.

The stall holder, who did not wish to be named, said: "I been here for more than 20 years and have seen a lot of change.

"A lot of places that have closed have been mostly retail and cafes.

"I would say there are a lot less people coming into the town and, as a result, you see people leaving who have been here for years."

Councillor Jane Lakey, who represents Bulwell for Labour on Nottingham City Council, said local councillors were looking to support a "vibrant" town centre but that it would take a lot of work.

"I have noticed the closures. Covid has had a significant impact and has switched the way people do their shopping," she said.

"All three Bulwell councillors are working for a vibrant town centre, and to support the market and its traders.

"It is a change in the way people shop and with that the market and town has to change with it.

"I have hope for the future but we cannot just hope, it's going to take lot of hard work."

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