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Thursday, 02 October 2014

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Gloom as more Barrow shops lie vacant

BARROW’S main retail strip has experienced a small rise in the number of empty shops over the last year.

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BARROW TOWN CENTRE

Figures from Barrow Borough Council show 26 of the 147 premises in Dalton Road and Portland Walk are empty.

The 17.7 per cent vacancy rate is a small increase on the 14.1 per cent recorded during the council’s previous survey period.

But it is still less than the peaks seen at the height of the economic crisis in 2009 and 2010 when vacancy rates of 19.5 per cent and 20.1 per cent were recorded.

The sample size was reduced from 149 to 147 following the demolition of 93 Dalton Road and JD Sports, combining two units into one.

Barrow Borough Council leader Dave Pidduck said he was disappointed to hear there had been an increase in the number of vacant shops.

He said: “One empty shop isn’t good – I’d like to see them all filled with businesses thriving, but we are still in the middle of this horrible recession.

“I’ve stopped watching the news because it’s so depressing. The big shops are being hit and you do worry.

“I know 20-odd shops is far too many, but for the size of town we are and where we’re situated, we do have a reasonable selection of shops and hopefully we can maintain those.”

Councillor Pidduck said the council was always working on ways to encourage more people into the central shopping precinct.

“We want to bring people in to the town centre. We have meetings on a regular basis with the retailers and their organisations to try and talk through some of the problems and see how we can resolve them.”

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