Traders praise "booming" TwyfordBy Jon Nurse
February 04, 2013
Famous high street chains may be dropping off many towns’ maps but the number of retailers in Twyford is booming.
Traders are praising the village’s mix of independent stores and supermarket chains for the success, which has led to the highest number of occupied units for decades.
Two new stores are due to open their doors in the village in the coming weeks, leaving just one empty retail unit in the commuter hub.
Gordon Storey, of Twyford Village Partnership, said: “It’s great news for the village – nobody can remember a time it’s been so full. Maybe Tesco has made a difference. Success breeds success.”
The village’s only empty unit is the former Johnson’s dry cleaners shop in Wargrave Road.
“It’s a prime unit – it’s not going to stay empty for long,” Mr Storey added.
This Saturday the ART for Art’s Sake gallery will open in High Street, filling the former home of Aldenham kitchens and bedrooms which had stood empty for more than a year.
The gallery is the brainchild of former Wargrave cub leader Sue Leigh who saw a gap in the market between Henley and Reading.
“I want to focus on good quality, affordable art,” she said. “Above all I want people to enjoy coming here to browse, without any sense of hard sell.”
The 56-year-old says the success of the village helped convince her to start the business.
“I like it here – it has everything you need,” she added. “There are lots of independent shops in Twyford and it seems to be thriving.
“People come to do their weekly shopping at Waitrose and Tesco and that definitely helps.”
Beauty firm Halcyon is also returning to the village next month, taking the former Rocking Horse unit in High Street.
The beauty, relaxation and wellbeing centre left the village in August when it was unable to re-secure its lease for its centre at the western end of High Street.
Owner Karen Eden said: “I’ve been looking for opportunities to come back and I’m delighted. It’s just a perfect spot.”
Ms Eden, who has lived in Hurst for 15 years, says she is looking forward to reforging relationships with friendly clients in the village.
The firm is expected to open its doors in the third week of February.
A survey by the Local
Data Company revealed Wokingham town centre had the lowest percentage of vacant shops in Berkshire in September, at 8.4 per cent, but with around 50 retail units and only one vacancy Twyford’s figure would be closer to two per cent.