King’s Lynn town centre remains vibrant despite empty units

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Officials say Lynn town centre remains vibrant despite a number of empty units in the High Street.

Traders say shoppers are continuing to be attracted to the town in greater numbers and that the shop vacancy rate is below the national average.

But there are a number of vacant units around the High Street.

Dorothy Perkins has moved into the Burton store, Accessorize is now in Monsoon and the Motorworld store has recently closed.

Chairman of Lynn Town Centre Partnership, Darren Taylor, says this not a cause for concern and there’s a positive feeling in the town centre.

He said: “My feeling is that the town centre is vibrant.

“The last town centre partnership meeting was positive and the report on the footfall figures were good.

“The footfall figures over the Easter period have also been good.”

Mr Taylor said expiring leases could be reason for empty shops.

He said: “If these shops were closed in 12 months time, it would be giving a very different outlook but in the short term it’s positive.”

The town centre’s vacancy rate is 11 per cent while the national average is 13 per cent.

Vancouver Quarter centre manager Abbie Panks says footfall figures remain strong.

She said: “Footfall was up in 2014 compared to 2013 and the first quarter of 2015 is up compared to the first quarter of 2014 so clearly there are more people coming into Lynn to shop and socialise, which can only be seen a positive indicator of health for the town centre.

“The on-going road works and gas works in and around the town centre have had a slight impact on the number of people coming into the town centre over the past few weeks – as have the works at the bus station – but these are very much short-term pain for long-term gain. The bus station work, in particular, has needed to be done for a long time and as an important entrance to the town, we look forward to the completion of the work.

“Regarding our vacant units, there has been a steady stream of interest from a wide range of businesses and we’re pleased to say a new business will be fitting out one of our vacant units in the coming weeks. Over the past year, we’ve also welcomed Roman Originals, Shoe Zone, Select into the centre.

“We’re also looking at a couple of initiatives for our longer-term vacant units, as well as a calendar of free events and activities– all of which help to drive up footfall in the town centre.”

She added: “From our point of view, the town centre looks relatively healthy but I cannot stress enough the importance of shopping locally, town centre shopping is a great boost to the local economy and is vital it is for town centres to continue to thrive.”

Visitor numbers are also hoped to increase later this year with a host of events.

A Hanseatic Festival will be taking place between May 16 and 17.

While the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta during a two year event on June 13 and 14.

The Freedom and Forties weekend is on July 18 and 19 on King’s Staithe Square and the Tuesday Market Place. A spitfire trail is also included.