Business groups express fear for Trowbridge Town Centre

By Katie Smith, Wiltshire Times 20th December 2013

The relocation of HJ Knee Ltd to an out of town retail park will mean Trowbridge town centre loses its anchor say organisations fighting to boost trade.

Wessex Chambers chief executive Rob Perks said: “I think it will have a detrimental impact on the town centre. It is an anchor to the town centre.

“It will knock a hole in the town centre. People come in for Knees and pop into other shops while they are there.”

Trowbridge Town Team chairman David Baker added: “It is a disappointment, but I understand where it is coming from.

“It is unfortunate a long standing business is moving out of the town to be financially secure, but I also see it as an opportunity. Hopefully we can get a major national brand into the building.”

Tino Polledri, chairman of the Trowbridge County Town Initiative, said it was the end of an era. “Our main concern now must be working together with the company to ensure that a new, vibrant business or businesses replace their store,” he said.

“It must be our focus to make sure we do our utmost to help encourage retailers, as now is the time to invest in our town centre.”

Trowbridge Chamber of Commerce president Colin Kay, said: “I understand a lot of local people are upset, because Knees is iconic. It was a surprise, but we have to understand why they are moving and it may not be all bad news.

“It will depend on what happens to their premises and I understand there is a lot of interest in them. It may be an opportunity.

“One door closes and another one opens.”

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