Chorley is bucking the empty shops trend.
The Local Data Company’s latest report into the national shop vacancy rate, Shopped Out, has found that one in seven, or 14 per cent of shops in the UK’s top 650 town centres, now lie empty.
However, in Chorley the shop vacancy rate is 5.6 per cent – down from 7.8 per cent on the same time last year.
Coun Peter Wilson, who oversees the town centre for Chorley Council, said: “I am pleased to report that Chorley is bucking the national trend for shop vacancies with our figure of 5.6 per cent being well below the national and regional
“This figure is also down on this time last year, which is positive proof that the package of measures we’ve put in place to help boost local businesses and strengthen the local economy is paying dividends.
“Also, I’m expecting that downward trend to continue apace with the plans we have got for the redevelopment of the former McDonald’s site in Market Street and we have the opening of Cakes by Ruth in St George’s Street, Chorley Travel Lounge in Fazakerley Street, A Step Beyond Beauty in Market Street, the White Hart pub, and DW Sports, which is soon to open in Market Street, all of which are bringing vacant properties back into use.”
Nationally the empty shops rate is marginally down, by 0.1 per cent, on the same time last year. But the North West is badly affected, with one in five shops now empty. Blackburn, in the large towns categoery, was the worst hit at at 26.9 per cent.
And of the top 25 centres with the highest rate of shop vacancies, 21 are in the North, Midlands or Wales. London, where only 9.5 per cent of shops are empty, is the least affected.
Small towns, with 9.2 per cent of shops empty, were the least affected. Badly hit are shopping centres – with 16.1 per cent of shops now vacant.
“This report shows while the rise of empty shops has stalled it still remains stubbornly high for many towns,” said Matthew Hopkinson, director of the Local Data Company.