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Harleston 'needs a good Chrtistmas'

PUBLISHED: 12:46 09 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:43 12 July 2010

Two more Harleston shops held closing down sales at the weekend adding to the number of vacant premise in the town as the credit crunch deepens.

The loss of gift and pine shop Country Style and Lesley Jackson designer fashions, follows the recent closure of a pork butcher Pigney, John Doe carpet and furniture and Matt Thomas and Howard's estate agencies - the latter now occupied by a cut price household store.

Two more Harleston shops held closing down sales at the weekend adding to the number of vacant premise in the town as the credit crunch deepens.

The loss of gift and pine shop Country Style and Lesley Jackson designer fashions, follows the recent closure of a pork butcher Pigney, John Doe carpet and furniture and Matt Thomas and Howard's estate agencies - the latter now occupied by a cut price household store.

Other vacant commercial premises include the corn hall - formerly the X-Change restaurant and shopping emporium,

Sue Kusmic, town council chairman, said: “Most of the empty shops have got people to come into them, but it doesn't stop me being concerned because everyone is having a tough time at the moment, and little independent stores are the most vulnerable. I've contacted MP Richard Bacon and we are going to get together soon to discuss this very issue of the shops closing, what the problems are and if there's any way to relieve the pressure.”

She added: “I think the main thing is for people to shop locally and it will really help if they do so this Christmas.”

Local hotelier Robin Twigge, the Federation of Small Businesses' regional spokesman, said: “I think Harleston will be all right. We are the early stages of the credit crunch and all of us are praying for a good Christmas.”

However, Mr Twigge believed people generally will be cutting back on their festive spending this year in view of the current economic climate, and the impact could hit home in the New Year.

“I think Christmas parties will be going, and Christmas will be downturned by the psychological effect of the credit crunch and becoming increasingly aware of the utility costs. But I don't think it will hurt Harleston until next January or February,” he predicted.

Meanwhile professionals are getting together in the town to offer advice to the public on how to cope with credit crunch problems.

They will be giving expert advice on financial matters, how to find housing, help with mortgage problems, checking benefits and pensions, cutting energy bills and finding employment. There will also be information about the free training that is available, saving energy and recycling.

Julie Helsby, project support worker for Harleston Information Plus, said: “We realise that local people are concerned about increases in household bills and the current financial situation so we wanted to bring in experts who can help. There will be something of interest for everyone whether they are looking for housing, want to keep hold of savings, bring in extra cash or save on household bills.

“We are asking members of the public to contribute to our 'Useful Tips Wall' where ways of managing during the credit crunch can be shared. Suggestions could come from experience during the war through to money saving via the internet.”

The free event is being held at the Swan Hotel, Harleston from 10am until 1pm on Saturday. No appointments are necessary and people are welcome to drop in to chat to any of the experts.

For more details contact Julie Helsby 01379 851917, or email Julie.helsby@harleston-norfolk.org.uk

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