‘It isn’t dying, it is changing’ - high street will bounce back, insists town’s biggest landlord

Lowestoft conference at the Town's Sixth Form Centre.Danny Steel.

Lowestoft conference at the Town's Sixth Form Centre.Danny Steel. - Credit: Nick Butcher

The managing director of a property business has said the closure of a town centre branch of Tesco was 'disappointing but not surprising' and claimed more stores will close.

Tesco Metro, London Road North, Lowestoft. Picture: Greta Levy

Tesco Metro, London Road North, Lowestoft. Picture: Greta Levy - Credit: Archant

According to Danny Steel, managing director of Steel & Co, the closure of Tesco Metro in Lowestoft's London Road North could not have been prevented.

"It's part of a national issue," he said.

"There's nothing a local authority could have done about it, it's unfortunately the way of the world.

"Large department stores are failing, and multinationals are looking at profitability. Other stores will close as well, I'm sure."

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The closure, announced at the beginning of the month, is one of 153 across the country which will see 4,500 jobs lost.

Mr Steel said there is a change in how consumers purchase, with online shopping and technology changing how people buy goods.

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He said: "Reports show stores like Tesco rely on people popping in and buying one or two items. The lower amount of footfall on the high street has an effect."

Mr Steel suggested national betting companies may be the next stores to leave the high street.

He said: "We've nationally seen one chain of those closing, with the changes where the betting stores don't have the high stake gambling machines, they're saying shops aren't profitable.

"And of course online gambling is changing that, I think we'll see more of the nationals closing around the UK."

However, Mr Steel suggested more independent stores are needed, alongside more flats above commercial stores in the town centre could bring more life to the town.

"We don't necessarily need to stop the change, we can't hold back time. What we've got to do is manage the change.

"It's interesting the number of small stores that have opened up which are doing okay, such as the general store at the top of London Road North.

"These stores will do quite well on the back of the closure of Tesco, and we need more service based companies, hairdressers, coffee bars and more of a night time economy."

He concluded: "We have a very attractive high street which just needs a bit of TLC to bring it up. I don't think we should be worried, it's a national issue. The town isn't dying, it is changing."

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