Page last updated at 13:42 GMT, Thursday, 5 March 2009

100m shopping centre opens doors

Arc centre
Shoppers visit the centre on its first day

A 100m shopping centre has opened in Suffolk, creating about 300 jobs.

The Arc development in Bury St Edmunds has more than 30 retail units and a Debenhams store which alone has created more than 100 jobs.

The centre is located on the town's old Cattle Market site and took two-and-a-half years to build.

It led to fears small traders would suffer but Paul Haynes, centre manager, said efforts were being made to attract small retailers to the centre.

He said it was expected the centre would reduce the number of people travelling to Ipswich and Cambridge to shop, raising hopes it would help other traders in the town centre.

Of the 35 units available in the Arc centre, 12 are still to be let.

Mr Haynes said: "All we've got left is small units that we've deliberately built that way so that we get local and regional independents."

Steve Peters, Bury St Edmunds town centre manager, said: "It is a very big day indeed and we're just grateful that it's here.

"This adds to the retail offer that the town has."

The centre cost 100m to build and still has 20 empty units

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