LAST year’s failed terrorist bomb plot has hit struggling traders in Dewsbury, business leaders were told on Monday.
Six men recently pleaded guilty to planning to blow up an English Defence League rally in the town in June, 2012.
Dewsbury Chamber of Trade President Trish Makepeace claimed at a meeting that retailers had noticed a drop in takings since the news broke.
She said the story had made Dewsbury’s image problems worse and added: “It’s gone quiet. I’m sure trade has dropped again.”
Dewsbury has also been hit by the impending closure of Superdrug, which will shut its Longcauseway branch at the end of its lease on June 15.
Superdrug are following Currys and H Samuel, who also quit Dewsbury when the leases on their branches ended earlier this year.
Uncertainty over the future of the Princess of Wales precinct, which is up for sale, could be a factor in the apparent retail exodus.
Also not helping matters is an invasion of gypsies, who have spent the last two weeks squatting in Dewsbury town centre car parks.
They left the Cliffe Street car park on Monday as court action was about to start after moving there from the railway station car park.
Chamber of Trade vice-president Andrew Hutchin-son wants barriers put up at the car parks to stop illegal access in future.
Mrs Makepeace added: “It’s all the time and money spent on tidying up after them.
“It’s a deterrent to the public coming into town.”