How cost of living squeeze is felt in Norfolk's most exclusive village
- Credit: Chris Bishop
It is renowned as the most well-heeled of Norfolk villages. But, as CHRIS BISHOP found out from traders in Burnham Market, nowhere is immune from the effects of the cost of living crisis
Dubbed Chelsea-on-Sea for its bustling social life, upmarket businesses and many affluent residents, Burnham Market is a village with a very exclusive reputation.
Yet, that does not mean that it is not the cost of living crisis has not reached there - just that it may be felt in different ways to other communities.
Like traders elsewhere, its retailers report rising prices - and customers feeling the pinch...
THE CAFE OWNER
Paul Bowness runs the Burnhams Tea Room and Cafe on the Market Place.
He said: "You know the nickname of this village, Chelsea-on-Sea? Well it's not cheap to fill up a Chelsea tractor these days, is it?
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"This Easter was definitely quieter than a normal one. There were hundreds of people about but we didn't take anything like we took last Easter.
"Everything I pay for is going up, so I'm going to have to put my prices up by about 10pc, I've been here for 13 years now, we just keep plugging on."
THE WINE MERCHANT
Maxwell Graham-Wood, at Satchells of Burnham Market, on North Street, also reported a quieter time than usual.
"Easter was a little quieter but rather than the cost of fuel, I blame the [anti-fossil fuel] protests and the shortages [at filling stations that they caused]," he said.
"We are experiencing an uplift in costs, dry costs from our suppliers, things like cardboard and bottles, transport costs, travel surcharges, things like that so we've had to nudge our prices, it's not a huge increase.
"But when people are up here, they tend to be on holiday, so the pressures on their day-to-day spending are eased a bit.
Vicky Davies, at Paper Moon Newsagents, Gifts and Toys on the Market Place, reported seeing some changes in customer behaviour.
"Fuel might have put people off taking day trips. My car is petrol and I was limited to £30 in the garage in the village.
"A couple of people have stopped having two newspapers a day.
"Cards have gone up, one or two people have moaned about it but if they need a birthday card, they're still going to buy a birthday card."
THE TOY SHOP OWNER
Harriett Cranmer, from Little Sunshine Toys, in Emma's Court, said: "I'm still a new business. I'm still growing, I've been here since July 2020 and I've had a lot of support from the government.
"I've got an amazing landlord and I've had loads of support from the locals so I haven't really had any bad experiences yet.
"But the cost of shipping containers is going up, so my minimum order values have gone up, so next year I think my prices may have to go up.
THE ANTIQUES DEALER
Bill Hudson, at Hamilton Antiques, on North Street, said: "We're normally fairly quiet in January and February, before we start taking off in March and April but it hasn't really happened yet, Easter wasn't like the previous Easters, it was a late Easter for a start.
Antiques have had it pretty tough for the last 10 years but the pendulum always swings back, that's what I always say.
I was speaking to the chap who runs the cafe and he said that Easter didn't really happen. But I guess it's hard to complain when you see what the rest of the world's putting up with."
THE SHOP MANAGER
Josh Hall runs the Mace store at Burnham Motors, Creake Road. He said: "People are definitely shopping around for fuel.
"We used to be one of the cheapest, now we're mid-market, people are going to the supermarkets more.
"The real test is going to be when we come to the summer, whether the squeeze is going to impact on people.
"When it comes to October, that's when bills are going to go up again as we get to the start of the cold weather."