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Fish Burwell in Newmarket's Guineas Shopping Centre closes down after a decade in business as shop rents are 'too expensive'




Sky high rents in Newmarket have claimed another store as Fish Burwell closed down last weekend.

The shop, which has served customers for the past decade, shut its doors for the final time on Saturday after the lease expired on their outlet in the Guineas Shopping Centre.

Owner Tricia Bircham, who ran Fish Burwell with her husband Colin alongside help from her sons Oli and Tom, said they had to close now because of huge rent costs.

Owners of Fish, Burwell Ltd, Tricia and Colin Bircham on their last day of trading in Newmarket's The Guineas, as their lease is up. Picture by Mark Westley
Owners of Fish, Burwell Ltd, Tricia and Colin Bircham on their last day of trading in Newmarket's The Guineas, as their lease is up. Picture by Mark Westley

“We have served the great and the good of Newmarket but at this present time we find the rents for the shops are too expensive,” she said.

Newmarket has become blighted with empty shop units, with retailers leaving the town even before the coronavirus pandemic.

And landlords are charging huge amounts for them.

The unit Fish Burwell is leaving is on the market for £21,000 with a minimum 10 year lease.

And other units in the town can go for as much as £75,000, rates which can leave businesses struggling to pay their rent before even paying for electricity and staff costs.

Tricia said when all factors were taken in they were stuck between a rock and a hard place.

“There are so many empty shops in Newmarket now,” she said.

“I have never seen the town as low as it is now.”

She said trade had been hit when Marks and Spencer closed in 2018, and it was further dented when West Suffolk Council moved the twice-weekly market from the Market Square on to the High Street.

Tricia thanked customers, many of whom had become friends, and said she would miss everyone who came into the store.

“We have had customers in tears when we told them we are closing down, it's very sad,” she said.

“We’ve been through a lot in 10 years, and we have met a lot of lovely people along the way.”

Fish Burwell started trading out of a van outside Manchetts in the village, before it moved into the shopping centre where it had been trading for 10 years.

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