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Nearly 25 per cent of shops in Bournemouth are empty
ALMOST a quarter of shop units in Bournemouth are empty, according to new statistics.
The Local Data Company says that 22.3 per cent of shops in the borough are vacant, a 4.4 per cent increase year-on-year.
But the Chamber of Trade and Commerce disputes the figures.
The Local Data Company says that the statistics place Bournemouth in the 10 worst areas of the South West.
Nigel Hedges, president of Bournemouth Chamber of Trade and Commerce , said: “I cannot see how that’s accurate unless they are taking a sample of a specific area, but across the borough I would challenge that.
“We’ve been about nine per cent and I would expect it to still be around that.
“All of the shops that become vacant in Bournemouth seem to fill up quickly and some businesses, like Pandora, have moved to bigger premises, which is a positive, but it does leave a smaller shop empty.
“I’m astounded that landlords still seem to want boom-time, city centre rents, which are not practical at this time. When there’s a zero on the end of everything for no reason that’s when people pack up and go home.
“We have tried so hard to have a dialogue with landlords and we do wonder what the future of the high street is if people continue to be inflexible.”
There is better news in Parkstone, which falls in the top 10 for the region, with a 1.5 per cent drop year-on-year.
Lucy Cooper, president of Poole Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said: “It is encouraging to see that there is an improvement in Parkstone, we are working with the Traders Associations to implement positive and practical change in these areas.
“There is still a strong sense of community and this promotes local trade as well as helping to shape these areas as ‘destinations’.
The statistics found that the national average vacancy rate was 14.6 per cent, up from 14.3 per cent six months ago. Margate in Kent came off worst – with 36.5 per cent vacant.