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‘It’s not helping the town’- entrepreneur says new business difficulties are damaging the high street

PUBLISHED: 09:25 04 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:42 04 March 2019

A man looking to start a new business in Dereham has spoken about how the difficulties entrepreneurs face are damaging the High Street. Picture: Ian Burt

A man looking to start a new business in Dereham has spoken about how the difficulties entrepreneurs face are damaging the High Street. Picture: Ian Burt

A mid Norfolk entrepreneur has spoken about how the problems facing those looking to start new businesses in a market town are damaging the high street.

Alex Chenery, 42, from Dereham, has been looking to set up his new video game café business Level Up for the last ten months but says high demands of landlords are putting people off being able to bring new business to the town and fill empty shops.

He said: “We’ve had difficulties with agreeing deals because of rent, market value of the building and things like that. Landlords have costs to cover but I just don’t think it’s helping.

“We initially planned to be open for the last summer holidays. Most of the time it takes two or three months to even get close to a deal.

“It just seems that landlords are more willing to just sit and wait on their empty properties. I don’t think that is helping the town.”

Mr Chenery has been in negotiations with a number of landlords but has so far failed to find anywhere that is the right deal for him.

He added: “I am trying to do something new in the town. From the start we have been cash ready. It’s been a long and difficult process.

“We are still trying but eventually I have to make a decision. It’s my job and I have to decide how long I can spend on this.

“It’s shame because I have had support for it in the town.”

Breckland Council has now offered help to Mr Chenery to try and bring his idea to fruition.

A Breckland Council spokesperson said: “Keeping Breckland’s high streets vibrant is a priority for the council as a strong local economy is good for residents in our towns and surrounding villages, attracts visitors from outside of the district and protects local jobs.

“Through our Market Towns Initiative we have set aside £250k in 2018/19 and this is funding a wide range of projects which boost our high streets.

“In addition, the council is working closely with landlords and retailers in our towns to bring them together to discuss the challenges we are collectively facing and how we can work together to overcome these issues.”

Mr Chenery is still hoping to find a property to move into and is aiming to open his business later this year.

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