The high street in general may be taking a bit of a battering at present, but one local agent insists that secondary retail is holding up well in St Albans and Harpenden.

Areas off the main shopping strips, including Holywell Hill in St Albans, are doing fine according to Matthew Bowen of Aitchison Raffety, despite the current handful of empty units.

He said: “Whilst undoubtedly some restaurant chains and the larger multiple retailers in the prime locations have found trading tough, any units which have become available have received significant interest levels and deals are being achieved quickly.

“A good example is Holywell Hill which is normally a good barometer of the market and in the last six months we have had three units which have come on to let and one for sale.

“Two have already let, one sold at record levels and the other unit is under offer.”

Matthew added that a retail unit on London Road has received more than 10 offers since Aitchison Raffety started marketing it, and a unit on Victoria Street was let before it was put on the market.

“This is important for the viability of the retail centres,” he said.

“Vacancy rates are around 3 per cent out of the prime areas of Harpenden and St Albans.

“This is encouraging and shows whilst there is negative news, it doesn’t seem to be affecting the local area. Long may this continue!”