Arrival of Subway branch prompts business optimism in Fakenham

FABCOM's Keith Osbourn (left) and Steve Hall promoting Fakenham Business Fair. Picture; Matthew Ushe

FABCOM's Keith Osbourn (left) and Steve Hall promoting Fakenham Business Fair. Picture; Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Business and community figures have expressed optimism for Fakenham's economic future at a time when several ventures are opening and closing 'like football's transfer window'.

A new Subway restaurant will open in Miller's Walk shopping centre, in the town centre, on September 17.

Aldi is due to submit an application for planning permission next week to open a supermarket on Norwich Road, Fakenham, and sources in the town have suggested that The Crown Hotel, in Fakenham Market Place, closed for more than five years, could reopen by the end of the year. In recent weeks, two new cafes have opened – on Oak Street and Bridge Street – and Pedlars Gold arts and crafts shop and The Original Factory Shop have reopened after being damaged in the town centre blaze in May.

Meanwhile, the Fakenham Florist shop closed on Monday with the owners attributing this to increased online business. They will continue to run a shop in Swaffham.

The Cash Factory and The Children's Society charity shop, both on Norwich Street, have recently closed and crafts shop Which Craft? on Norwich Road, along with the neighbouring Cafe Scrumptious, are both up for sale, with the owners looking to move on for personal reasons. Shoe Zone, in Miller's Walk, is also set to close.

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Steve Hall, co-founder of the Fakenham Area Business Community (FABCOM), said: 'It's a bit like football's transfer window with all the changes happening at the same time.

'People have different reasons for moving out of Fakenham but there are a lot of new businesses coming in too and there is plenty to be positive about.

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'Having a new Subway in the town centre should encourage more visitors and other businesses into Fakenham.' FABCOM's other co-founder Keith Osborn said: 'It's never good to see shops close but fresh new businesses coming in brings fresh enthusiasm.

'It's good to see big companies like Subway and Aldi coming in, hopefully a prestigious business will move into the site of the fire as well and I've heard that The Crown could be open by Christmas, which would be a really big boost to the town.'

Adrian Vertigan, town councillor and chairman of Kick Start Fakenham, which was set up to promote businesses and community groups, said: 'We are just coming out of a recession and a lot of people's leases will be coming to an end, so there will be some change in the town.

'We are seeing a mix of big national companies and smaller businesses which is good.

'Fakenham has come through the recession in good shape and it will only get stronger and stronger.'

The new Subway restaurant will be run by Brett Corder, a well-known Fakenham businessman, who had previously run the Budgens store, on Wells Road, for eight years.

What do you think of Fakenham's business outlook? Write to or to The Community Editor, Dereham and Fakenham Times, Bond House, 31 High Street, Dereham, NR19 1DZ.

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