08:55AM, Thursday 12 April 2012
The number of empty shops in Maidenhead is at an all-time high with 55 vacant units across the town centre.
This means 16.8 per cent - or roughly one in six - of 327 retail units are out of use.
Councillors are 'optimistic' the £152million Kings Triangle development will see things improve but regeneration chief Bob Dulson said a more co-ordinated effort is needed to help pull the town out of its slump.
About 12 stores have closed in the last year alone and Maidenhead's vacancy rate is now above the national average of 14.6 per cent.
Mr Dulson, vice-chair of PRoM (Partnership for the Rejuvenation of Maidenhead) believes a 'regeneration champion' should be appointed to bring together the work of the various Maidenhead groups.
He added: "There's a huge amount of frustration because there's lots of things in the pipeline and a lot of people willing for things to happen but it just doesn't seem as if we can pull it together."
The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead says ING's triangle plan is due to go before councillors for a decision in the late summer. The waterways proposals are expected to go before councillors in June.
But David Pearce, director of Kempton Carr Croft which handles many shop rentals in town, said the proposed developments were not having any impact on lets as they were 'too far off'.
He said the company had let three units in the last week and added: "I wouldn't say things are OK but it's not the doom and gloom that some people like to make out."
- Hairdressers Echo's has opened in the High Street, in the former Lakes store.
- Trends, a homewares shop, is due to open in the former MVC unit in the High Street.
- Cashbrokers is due to open on Monday in what was The Glitterbox Accessories shop in Queen Street.
- Roosters Piri Piri has opened in the former Zizi's shop in King Street
- Bar Sport is due to open in the former Ivory Lounge unit in King Street.
- The Alzheimers Dementia Support (ADS) is opening a new charity shop in the old Alzheimer's Society store opposite Costa Coffee on the High Street.
- The Nicholson's Centre management is also in talks with a retailer about it taking over the former JD Sports shop which is undergoing maintenance work.
See today's Maidenhead Advertiser for the full story.
See the council's February retail survey here.
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