Baker fears for future of town centre

Another supermarket could spell the end for Butchers Row bakery, claims owner.

A BARNSTAPLE baker is backing calls for a fairer car parking deal for town centre shoppers and traders.

Graham Principe of East and West Bakery in Butchers Row is concerned about the future of his business and blamed poor trading conditions on the impact out-of-town supermarkets, as well as the recession.

Mr Principe, 61, said: “We need to have parity with the supermarkets otherwise the town will die on its feet.

“People are not going to spend �1 on parking to come in and buy a loaf of bread for �1.

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“If we get an hour free parking I’d be absolutely made up – if you give someone a little bit they might give you a bit more without even realising it.”

Mr Principe said his business was now taking the same amount of money it took in its second year of trading, 14 years ago.

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“My profits are 50 per cent down on what they were five years ago. It’s not just down to the recession; the car parks in Barnstaple are empty and the supermarket car parks are full up.

“I’m trying to keep my business afloat in very difficult times and if I don’t get the trade this summer, and these supermarkets come, it’ll probably be the end of my business and I certainly won’t be the only one.”

He claimed that Barnstaple was heading for what he called “the doughnut effect – sweet and succulent on the outside and nothing in the middle.”

“If we get another supermarket it will be the last nail in the coffin for Barnstaple and certainly the last nail for small businessmen.

“We will lose this lovely little town and all that it stands for.”

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