A couple who closed down their Kettering business after Christmas say they feel they were forced out because of the town centre pedestrianisation.
David Aguilar and Jemma Sanders say they are moving their arts and crafts shop, Bee Inspired, to Market Harborough’s Market Hall later this year after a 50 per cent fall in takings in the past two years.
The couple say they noticed a drop in the number of customers after the work was completed on the Market Street pedestrianisation project.
Mr Aguilar said: “Before the project people could drive up Market Street and park their car outside to nip in for a few minutes.
“Since then, we think this part of town has become a little bit forgotten and we don’t get the passing trade we used to.
“Two or three other businesses up here have closed in the last couple of years so we aren’t the only ones who were affected.”
Mr Aguilar said he felt town centre parking fees had also contributed.
The couple opened their business about 10 years ago and had spent the past three years in the Market Street unit, after moving just a few yards from a unit in the neighbouring Market Street Mews.
Kettering councillor Michael Brown said: “We are obviously very sad to see a business no longer trading.
“However, all town centres experience a natural ebb and flow of business, and in recent years we have seen more businesses move into the town centre than out.
“In 2011 we had an average amount of empty units when compared to the country, we now have seven per cent fewer empty units than the national average and we have the most independent retailers in the area.
“We have also attracted big names such as Prezzo and Chimichanga.
“We consulted on the Market Place, Sheep Street and Market Street developments between December 2009 and January 2010 and more than 60 per cent of respondents supported the removal of traffic from the area.”