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Bury St Edmunds town centre could receive free Wi-Fi in boost for high street

Free Wi-Fi could be introduced in Bury St Edmunds town centre to boost the high street as it recovers from the coronavirus crisis.

Our Bury St Edmunds Business Improvement District (BID) is exploring the possibility of introducing free Internet access to shoppers in the town – replicating a similar initiative in Newmarket.

It would also provide a better understanding of visitors’ shopping habits, expanding on the BID’s footfall camera in Abbeygate Street, to help businesses adapt in the wake of the pandemic.

Abbeygate Street, in Bury St Edmunds. Picture by Mark Westley
Abbeygate Street, in Bury St Edmunds. Picture by Mark Westley

Mark Cordell, chief executive of Our Bury St Edmunds, said: “It’s about providing a better service for our members. Technology has moved on and we need to take advantage of this. If Bury is going to be one of the prime retailer destinations we’ve got to up our game. At the moment a lot of the decisions we’re making are less informed than they could be.”

He said it could cost an estimated £20,000 to install and £4,000 a year to run.

“We’re very interested and we’ve communicated with local councils around the possibility of bringing this system which exists in Newmarket to the town,” Mr Cordell said.

Mark Cordell (40065946)
Mark Cordell (40065946)

“We’re obviously in a crucial time for town centre businesses and we would want to provide this as soon as possible and certainly within this financial year.”

Our Bury St Edmunds has partnered with place promotion app LoyalFree to increase awareness of local brands and provide tourist information, event listings and interactive trails. It can be downloaded from the Google and Apple app stores.

A West Suffolk Council spokesman said: “As a member of the Bury St Edmunds BID we support them taking this forward and looking at any plans in more detail as well as the benefits this may bring.”