Boston shop closures blamed on Market Place refurbishment

Elaine Smithdale and Jude Meadows outside their Boston shops Naomi Rose and Simply Yours, which are closing.
Elaine Smithdale and Jude Meadows outside their Boston shops Naomi Rose and Simply Yours, which are closing.

A MOTHER and daughter retail duo from Boston are blaming the Market Place refurbishment for the closure of their businesses.

Elaine Smithdale and Jude Meadows, who own Simply Yours and Naomi Rose bridal and jewellery shops, in South Square, say they are ‘angry and upset’ by the knock-on effect the ongoing Market Place works have had on their businesses – which are to close this autumn.

“I’ve had brides ring up and cancel because they’ve said they can’t get into Boston and are concerned about the parking,” said Jude. “We were finding times hard during the recession but we were pulling through. To dig up the Market Place on top of all the other road works we’ve had around Boston – has simply finished us off.

“I feel if the councils don’t do something soon, they are going to lose a lot more businesses from the town.

Jude’s mother Elaine said: “This has had such an impact on us. Since the start of the Market Place works, we have seen a substantial drop in footfall and a fall in trade of around £300-400 a week.”

She added: “My life savings were in this business – and I’ve now got to move away to find work – it’s heartbreaking.”

Coun Derek Richmond, Boston Borough Council’s portfolio holder for the town centre, said: “There is no best time for everyone to do such work, but investing in tough times will equip Boston for better times when we come out of the recession.”

He added: “And if we had delayed the start we would have missed out on the vital European funding which has made it possible.”

Amanda Bond, senior development officer for Lincolnshire County Council said: “We’re doing all we can to minimise the disruption, and have recently set up an information centre on-site, where local traders can discuss any concerns with our contractors.”

She added: “Business rates for affected companies have been reduced, to help them through this period. Our hope is that traders will appreciate the long-term benefits the refurbishment brings.”

* An ‘Any Questions’ session for invited businesses in Boston has been organised by Boston Borough Council, and will include project partners Lincolnshire County Council and the contractors Ringway Infrastructure Services Limited. It takes place at the Assembly Rooms on Thursday, September 15.