Town's last greengrocer fights to stay on the High StreetBy Becky Barnes
February 28, 2013
The town’s last greengrocer which faces closure to make way for the regeneration is campaigning to stay on the High Street.
More than 550 loyal customers have pledged their support to save Dudman’s Greengrocer in Bracknell after owner Andy Dudman was served noticed by his landlord.
He started the petition last week to gauge public support for him to stay in the town after learning he would need to close by June 4, before demolition of Crossway and Broadway starts.
Andy, whose family has run greengrocer’s shops in Bracknell and Reading for 143 years, said: “I am amazed at the response – it is really, really good.
“I felt quite proud people want us, this is an opportunity.”
The 52-year-old, from Birch Hill, is calling on Bracknell Regeneration Partnership (BRP) to help him find a suitable unit and is hoping something temporary can be set up in front of fencing which will cut in front of his current shop when the neighbouring streets are demolished.
He said: “We asked customers if they still wanted to see a fruit and veg stall in the new town and wondered if they were bothered if I stay.
“It was a very positive response and some said if I was not in the new town they would complain.
“But there is nowhere suitable for me at the moment.”
Andy, who has been in his current shop for five years, said BRP has asked if he would be interested in a temporary unit in front of the
hoardings and believes he is on a list of people interested.
He went on: “Everything else is too expensive. My profit margins are not that large – there are not a lot of earnings to cover wages and rent.
“It is very close to running at a loss in a town which is not that busy.”
The greengrocer, who also sells at Bracknell Market, has considered finding an empty unit to share with another retailer but claims BRP has not given him enough help.
He said: “They don’t come and offer you anything. Nobody has even bothered to say ‘are you interested in these units’?
“Come June 4 I would just have had to leave – unless you do it yourself no one is going to come along.
“But I want to say to BRP that people who come to your town do actually want me.”
Helen Barnett, the marketing manager at BRP, said: “Dudman’s Greengrocers is located in Crossway, so as part of the regeneration of the northern area of the town centre the shop needs be vacated on or before June 4.
“Hoardings will then need to be put up around the demolition site for it to be demolished.
“BRP is looking at a host of different ideas to enhance the town centre while the regeneration is taking place and hope to be in a position to let people have more information about these in the coming months.
“These ideas will endeavour to bring vibrancy to the town centre while it is being regenerated.”