More business owners flock to Gloucester city centre leaving less than nine per cent of units available
Investment in Gloucester city centre is paying off with more shops opening in the past two years.
Gloucester City Council figures show that the number of empty shops in the city’s most popular shopping areas fell from 54 in May 2012 to 26 in December 2014, leaving less than nine per cent of all the business units available.
The total number of businesses in Gloucester grew by 4.3 per cent in 2013. This is the highest annual increase for the city since Office for National Statistics began collecting the data back in 2004. Gloucester is also top when compared with the other districts in the county.
Paul James, leader of the council and cabinet member for regeneration, said: “In the past few years a total of £800 million has been invested or committed to major projects across Gloucester.
“At the same time we have worked very hard to support small and medium sized businesses with practical help and advice. Developers and investors are showing faith in our approach and the Government has cited us as an example of best practice.
“The fact that city centre shop vacancy rates have dropped below nine per cent for the first time in years is clear evidence that the city centre is heading in the right direction.”
Gloucester City Council recently appointed a city centre manager, Jason Merritt, whose primary focus is to drive and co-ordinate the centre’s growth and build productive working relationships with city traders.
Jason said: “One of our core aims is to ensure that all businesses in the city centre are supported to grow and thrive and that we have a city centre to be proud of.”
Over the last few years, Gloucester City Council and its partners have implemented initiatives to reduce the number of vacant shop units. These include business and heritage grants and improved signs and lighting.
The city council is now planning a number of new projects to help support the attractiveness, vitality and viability of the city centre including improvements to car parks and lighting, by brightening up shop fronts, a new Tourist Information Centre and enhanced business grants. For more information on business and heritage grants visit www.gloucester.gov.uk/grants