Shops are ‘close’ to being filled
April 24, 2009
Five empty town centre shops are drawing interest from national and local firms.
Matt Taylor from Kitchen La Frenais Morgan, the property company tasked with letting the empty units in Peach Street by landowner Rock Investment Group, says the company has received interest from both national chains and local traders.
However, Mr Taylor said potential occupiers were concerned about the uncertainty surrounding the future of the empty Woolworths unit across the road.
He explained: “What we have noticed is that a lot of people have asked about what is happening with Woolworths.
“The thing is, for example if a small craft shop was to move in here and then a huge competitor took the Woolworths store, the owners of the smaller shop could be in trouble.
“Other than that, we’re fairly confident of filling them in the future, it could take a while, but we’ll get there.”
Town centre groups have also welcomed a Government plan which could see empty shop units used for community schemes.
Communities Secretary Hazel Blears announced plans last week which could see laws changed so councils can rent out empty units to house short-term projects.
Mark Ashwell, chairman of Wokingham Chamber of Commerce, said: “Wokingham is ahead of the game on this one as we’ve already had some displays in our empty units.
“I think it’s a great idea – no-one wants to see empty shops and provided the exhibitions can get out quickly once the lease is taken then it could brighten up the town.”
Rex Roskilly, chairman of Wokingham town centre Neighbourhood Action Group added: “We’re in favour of anything that could be a boost to the town.”