Fall in Empty Shops
BEDFORD TOWN CENTRE
BUCKS NATIONAL TREND WITH FALL IN VACANT SHOP SPACE
New figures show that Bedford town centre’s
shop vacancy rate continues to fall, bucking the national trend and
outstripping neighbouring towns.
The figures, released by Experian, show
Bedford town centre’s empty floorspace rate has fallen from 10.7%
in 2013 to 9.2%.this year, well below the national average of 10.6
%, which saw a slight increase over the same period.
Bedford’s empty shop vacancy rate is also considerably lower than
those of neighbouring town centres such as Luton, Milton Keynes and
The challenging economic conditions over
recent years have combined with trends towards out-of-town and
internet shopping to cause a crisis for the UK high Street, but
Bedford remains below the national average for town centre store
closures; highlighting that Bedford has bucked the trend.
The figures confirm that Bedford also
outperforms the national average for the number of individual
vacant shop units, which again are far higher in neighbouring towns
including Luton, Milton Keynes and Northampton.
Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said:
“The falling shop vacancy rate is very encouraging, and really
stands out against the increasing vacancies seen elsewhere. There
is much more to do, and it is vital the Council continues to work
with everyone who cares about Bedford Town Centre to make it an
even more attractive and enjoyable place to visit for shopping and
The way that Bedford town centre is seeing
year on year falls in the shop vacancy rate shows that people
locally really do value their town centre and its traders.
The brand new bus station, the re-developed Higgins Bedford and the
return of town centre cinema will also combine to make Bedford Town
Centre an even more attractive destination in its own right."
The array of free public events run by the
Council and others comprise just one of many initiatives which take
place locally to support Bedford town centre, which is also
undergoing major redevelopment. The £6 million cultural
attraction The Higgins Bedford opened a year ago, the redevelopment
of Bedford Bus Station is at an advanced stage, and town centre
cinema is set to return to Bedford as part of a riverside
development featuring new restaurants and public squares by the