St Albans bucking trend on high street vacancies

HIGH Street vacancy rates in St Albans are the lowest in the UK, according to the latest reports released this week.

Figures obtained by the Local Data Company (LDC) reveal that St Albans has the lowest high street vacancy rate for large centres, at 8.2 per cent. The national rate is 14.3 per cent.

St Albans MP Anne Main (Con) welcomed the news but warned there was still work to be done.

She said: “I am pleased that St Albans’ high streets appear to be faring well in these difficult economic times; however there is no room for complacency.

“There are still many problems that businesses in St Albans are struggling with including securing loans from banks. We have seen shops closures recently and I hope that these units are replaced quickly.”

Whilst national vacancy rates remained stable throughout 2011, the LDC warned this figure was set to rise in 2012 due to weak consumer confidence, growing online sales and the rise in unemployment.

A number of shops in the city centre have already closed in recent weeks including Hawkins Bazaar, Early Learning Centre, La Senza, Bon Marche, Dash and Christian bookshop Quench.

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Mrs Main continued: “St Albans district council is consulting on plans to revitalise the city centre and encourage further investment in St Albans. I support the Council’s proactive approach as this low level of vacancies can still be improved upon, and I believe the council is doing everything they can to achieve this”.