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Sunday, April 14, 2024
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Telford and Wrekin’s high streets remain vibrant despite national trend

Figures for empty retail units in high streets across Telford and Wrekin still remain well below the national average.

Shoppers and visitors on Newport High Street. Photo: Telford & WRekin Council
Shoppers and visitors on Newport High Street. Photo: Telford & Wrekin Council

The borough continues to buck the national trend and create vibrant high streets in Dawley, Madeley, Oakengates, Ironbridge, Newport and Wellington.

Latest figures show that out of 727 retail units across towns in Telford and Wrekin, just 26 (3.6%) stand empty – well below the UK national average which is 14% (Local Data Company).

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And despite many businesses nationally facing the prospect of closure within the first 12 months of opening, only one unit has closed in the first year in Telford and Wrekin since Telford & Wrekin Council’s Pride in Our High Street programme was launched in 2018.

The Council has supported businesses through the programme – awarding 330 grants since 2018 and helping 62 businesses to set up on the high street through start-up grants.

Businesses have also received other Pride in Our High Street funding since 2018 to help drive more footfall to the high streets.

The initiative has awarded 73 eco grants to help businesses become more sustainable, 40 façade grants to improve shop frontages and enhance the overall appearance of high streets, and 19 digital grants to equip businesses to trade effectively in the digital arena.

A total of 66 diversification grants have also supported businesses following the pandemic and during the cost-of-living crisis, giving them the opportunity to diversify to sustain their business. 

Councillor Lee Carter (Lab), Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Place (the Economy & Neighbourhood Services), said: “It is still very challenging times for our high streets but in comparison with the national picture Telford and Wrekin is well placed.

“We continue to make great progress tackling empty shop units and breathing new life into our high streets through the Pride in Our High Street programme.

“The number of empty units in our towns across Telford and Wrekin is well below the national average which underlines our commitment to supporting local businesses during these challenging financial times.

“These results are a testament to the resilience and hard work of our local businesses and their commitment to our communities.

“This is something we are incredibly proud of and just highlights the success rates that Telford & Wrekin Council is achieving through the Pride in Our High Street initiative.

“We remain committed to supporting local businesses and creating vibrant high streets which we can all be proud of through the start-up and start-up trial grants we currently offer.”

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