A TOP Bracknell businessman says he fears for The Lexicon’s future if government coronavirus restrictions continue to hinder shops, cafes, and restaurants.

Richard Knight, who ran his own advertising agency, has lived in Roman Hill in Bracknell for the past 27 years.

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Now running Lionheart Business Troubleshooting, the businessman recently told ukpropertyforums.com of his worries for Bracknell town centre.

Bracknell News:

His fears for his home town culminated in his prediction that yet more redundancies will be made and more shops will close in this “crazy situation we find ourselves in”.

The News asked Richard to explain why he worries for Bracknell.

BN: How do you see the current Covid-19 social distancing restrictions affecting businesses in Bracknell?

RK: “It is not just Bracknell but restrictions that seem to make no sense any more are totally killing the economy and we cannot keep opening and shutting businesses, as business owners really don’t know where they stand.

Bracknell News:

“The concern is that if so many retail businesses in the town are forced to close, how easy is it going to be to replace them? And are we going to end up with another ghost town again?

“It’s a concern nationwide not just in Bracknell.”

READ MORE: Bracknell News readers think a second lockdown would benefit the borough

BN: Given the town centre has only just been regenerated, how important is it the government gets its policies right to ensure The Lexicon can survive going forward?

RK: “The government, in my opinion, is totally losing the plot now. No one really knows what they are supposed to do or not supposed to do.

“We have to learn to live with this, and I think the government are hinging everything on a vaccine and we do not know how long this will take.

“By continuing to open and shut businesses it will potentially kill The Lexicon and every other town centre in the country.

“We all have to act responsibly and if we did and restrictions were lifted, we could go about our lives as normally as possible, but it is something everyone in the UK has to be part of.”

BN: What impact do you think these restrictions might have on future regeneration projects around the town centre, such as The Deck?

READ MORE: The Deck regeneration work start date 'under review'

RK: “I’m sure The Deck will be moved back as new businesses are not going to want to be tied into long leases, as we don’t know if this pandemic is going to come back again.

Bracknell News:

“A lot of the national businesses that have been forced to close were in trouble way before this pandemic hit, but they will use the pandemic as an excuse for them having to close – not all businesses, but a good number of them.”

BN: As a business troubleshooter, what are your suggestions for how businesses may be able to overcome the restrictions? What would you urge the government to do to support businesses struggling with the restrictions?

RK: “A lot of businesses fell through the net and got no support at all. Businesses have to plan well in advance – five years – and look at what could be.

“They need to prepare for the what-ifs, and look at opportunities and not look at problems.

“To me, this impact on the economy was expected — not the pandemic —as every eight to 12 years there will be something that comes along that will stop us in our tracks.

“One thing all businesses need to learn from this, and anyone who has been through previous recessions should have learned, is to have a six-month slush fund. If you run a business you have a responsibility to look after that business as you would a child.

“As I have said before, the government need to lift restrictions and not keep stop starting the economy – that’s how they can help businesses.”


Late last month, chancellor Rishi Sunak outlined the government’s plan to protect jobs and support businesses over the coming months.

This included a package of new measures designed with the coronavirus pandemic in mind.

It includes a new Jobs Support Scheme, extending the Self Employment Income Support Scheme, a tax cut for the hospitality sector and help for businesses in repaying government-backed loans.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said in September: “The resurgence of the virus, and the measures we need to take in response, pose a threat to our fragile economic recover.

“Our approach to the next phase of support must be different to that which came before.

“The primary goal of our economic policy remains unchanged – to support people’s jobs – but the way we achieve that must evolve.”