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Opinion: Business closures are a huge loss to our town

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Lynn News’ head of news Rebekah Chilvers shares her thoughts on the sad news of a restaurant and a club shutting in Lynn town centre.It’s been a sad couple of months for two Lynn businesses that hold some brilliant memories for me – and many, many others.Late last month, the independent restaurant Purfleet Brasserie announced that it would not reopen in 2024 – and earlier this month, the company that owns Bar & Beyond went into administration, which closed the club on Norfolk Street with immediate effect.

The Purfleet Brasserie. Picture: Ian Burt

I was shocked to hear that both of these businesses would no longer be a part of Lynn’s town centre, although perhaps I shouldn’t have been, considering the current state of things.After more than a decade of austerity, followed by Covid-19, then the cost-of-living crisis, the UK economy has now fallen into a recession once again – I’m sure these factors have made recent years a challenge for businesses, independent or otherwise.But that doesn’t take away from the fact that these are both huge losses for the town.

Bar & Beyond in Lynn has closed its doors

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Purfleet Brasserie – it was the first eatery that I reviewed for the Lynn News, at which time I said that “fresh, delicious food and fantastic service” made it a “great new addition” to the town centre’s dining scene.And this was proven once more when I paid another visit last year. I was not the only one to think so, as musician Example heaped praise on the team there after his experience before headlining Festival Too in 2023.As for Bar & Beyond, there are so many memories that it’s hard to recount them all.I’m old enough to say that I first went there when it was Chicago’s – in fact, I had my first ever night out there when I turned 18.Over the last decade or so, I celebrated a couple of other birthdays there (even dressing up as Daenerys from Game of Thrones for my 25th), enjoyed work nights out and I also met a few celebs there too (Gok Wan and some Love Islanders…). I’m sure many others will have similar memories to share.While there are other clubs and bars to choose from in Lynn, I’m sure the loss of a late-night venue of that size will have an impact – not least for the staff who have lost their jobs.When we asked Lynn News readers for their ideas for the future of the site, there was a huge response.The majority wanted it to stay an entertainment venue, but others suggested eateries, an NHS dentist or an NHS health walk-in checkup centre.Recent data has shown that alcohol consumption by young people has fallen over the last 20 years in England, so perhaps this can go some way to explaining the decline in clubs across the country.Whatever happens, I hope that both venues are put to good use to bring some more happy memories to people in the area – and are successful for those behind them, despite the current challenges.



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