Harsh economic times and lack of free parking have been blamed for the imminent closure of the Fishers hardware store in St Neots.

The Fishers hardware shop in St NeotsThe Fishers hardware shop in St Neots

The shop, on the Market Square, will close at the end of April and a, yet to be named new business, will take over the premises in May.

Current owner Arthur Taylor has told The Hunts Post that the hardware business had seen a shape decline in the last three or four years and footfall has dropped dramatically.

“We thought for a while we could weather the storm, but when we did our projections for the next five years, we just couldn’t see how the business could thrive,” said Mr Taylor who has owned the business for 15 years.

He also has a branch of Fishers in Kimbolton and will gradually move the stock over to the other shop and hopes to be able to set up a delivery service for his loyal customer base in St Neots.

Mr Taylor, has however, criticised the parking regulations in the town which he says have a detrimental effect on small businesses.

“It’s the thing that people complain about the most, why should they have to pay to park when they just want to pop into town for a couple of screws. If they gave people two hours of free parking, it would make a huge difference. I just don’t understand why the decision-makers can’t see that. The changes in business rates, the internet and out-of-town shops has also had an impact over the last few years. All these things have added up to leave us where we are today and it feels heart-wrenching to have to pack up and leave.”

Mr Taylor said he felt the town was losing a little bit of history.

“It feels like the end of an era, but we have fought this vigorously for the last two years and it has played itself out and St Neots will lose another bit of its history.”