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Colin James

How Many Empty Shops In Hereford 2014?

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Rather than build a University why not convert the empty shops into classrooms turn our town centres into learning hubs? Radical I know but it could work it certainly puts more people in the heart of our city. Our aging population could help by passing on skills and knowledge to our teenagers. I can actually see this working, but I do have some very strange ideas. I like the idea of a learning village, with shops classrooms day care and perhaps some student accommodation. It might attract businesses, selling books, computer equipment, sports equipment, anything students might require all in one place. Just a crazy thought to get people brain storming! But there must be some other use for these empty shops because it's only going to get worse. Could the Council offer an incentive by dropping the rates for the first year? I don't think it's a good idea to simply leave them they are starting to look very scruffy. After all we are in an age of recycling, so let's stop building new and look to recycling our old buildings? 

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Oh what a depressing picture this all paints - exactly what you lot seem to want. Nothing like a good moan.

Lets look to the future - we have major companies, Waitrose and Debenhams, with the confidence to open in the City. They would not have gone elsewhere in the centre as there are no suitable sites.

Yes its a shame that TK Maxx and H & M are moving but they are not closing and change happens. Two shops have just opened in Church Street and two on your list will be reoccupied soon. But nothing should be let to get in the way of your agenda which is to continually talk the city down.

Rant over!

The problem is we have too many shops.20 years ago we bought all our goods etc from 'town' but the building of supermarkets the internet & the  recessions have made it impossible for every shop unit to be filled.To be blunt I don't find it depressing at all,the City is still a great place to shop,we just need to find alternative uses for some shop units.

And I agree stop talking this great City of ours down

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Rather than build a University why not convert the empty shops into classrooms turn our town centres into learning hubs? Radical I know but it could work it certainly puts more people in the heart of our city. Our aging population could help by passing on skills and knowledge to our teenagers. I can actually see this working, but I do have some very strange ideas. I like the idea of a learning village, with shops classrooms day care and perhaps some student accommodation. It might attract businesses, selling books, computer equipment, sports equipment, anything students might require all in one place. Just a crazy thought to get people brain storming! But there must be some other use for these empty shops because it's only going to get worse. Could the Council offer an incentive by dropping the rates for the first year? I don't think it's a good idea to simply leave them they are starting to look very scruffy. After all we are in an age of recycling, so let's stop building new and look to recycling our old buildings? 

Still think we should have a Uni.This City needs to grow to prosper not let it stagnate as what would have happened if IOC were in charge.

Just think,instead of a cycle path to Rotherwas we would of had a train track  :tongue_32:

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"The problem is we have too many shops."

So what does our esteemed council do? Why, they build more of course!

 

If Debenhams had taken over the old Chadds premises, that would have tidied up that end of town considerably!

 

Having been along the new cycle path, I think its unfair to label it a death trap - certainly some better lighting either end would be an improvement, and the signage issue is due to be sorted quickly!

 

Having read the discussion that took place on H.T regarding the incinerator, the subject of a train link to Rotherwas came up. councillor Liz Harvey, IOC, spoke favourably about it!

 

A University would have been great for Hereford........maybe one day, when folk realise that the addition of yet another supermarket is not going to solve Herefords problems!

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Good ideas Flamboyant.

 

I have been looking at quotations to raise my spirits. Here are a few to support your comment.

with acknowledgement to BrainyQuote.

 

1. Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.
    Carl Sagan 
 
2. To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.
    Thomas A. Edison 
 
3. Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities.
    Dreaming,  after all, is a form of planning.
    Gloria Steinem 
 
Quotes 1 & 2 appear apt for High Town.
 
Quote 3 Unfortuanately "the excitement of possibilities" is replaced by "the law of certainty" that all planning is based on short term financial gain for the few and long term pay back by the many.
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Brilliant Megilleland!

I seem to remember reading one of your posts that was a detailed description of what the governments policy for rejuvenating Town Centres was. Any chance you could put up a link to it? I think its worth reading again!

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I noticed when passing yesterday that shop no 3 on Collins list , the old Subway shop on the corner of Commercial and Blueschool has some work going on , it looks as if someone is doing it so may be a good sign, also Callandras has moved from East Street to Church Street so he has not gone out of business, He is well worth a visit stocking some good gear.

 It will be interesting to count how many units are empty now including Maylords  as individual units and how many are empty in say 12 months and again 18 months after the new development opens , maybe the best way to find out is a freedom of information request to the council? they must have all the up to date info.

 I like flamboyant's  idea Maylords would be a good place for it or may be the old Chadds.

I still think that it is going to be the pubs and restaurants who will save our city, provided they get the right assistance from the council in the form of reasonable business rates etc and help with deliveries, the parking for deliver drivers in this town is a joke.

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Brilliant Megilleland!

I seem to remember reading one of your posts that was a detailed description of what the governments policy for rejuvenating Town Centres was. Any chance you could put up a link to it? I think its worth reading again!

Check out post number 7 on this topic and past topic "Beyond Retail - Redefining the shape and purpose of town centres." You can link to the report here by The Distressed Town Centre Property Taskforce.

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In fact national average is 17.3%

 

 

You say that like it's a good thing.

 

If you think that the new development will not bring more people into the City to shop then I must be missing something.

 

 

Shop where? There's nothing here and the OLM is only bringing Waitrose and Debenhams, the other major shops going in their we already have, they are just moving them from other parts of the city.

I'll give it a chance, but really, there's nothing new coming and I will continued to shop in Worcester, Cardiff and on line. 

 

Next time you're out, try and buy a waistcoat for under £100 in Hereford.

 

So if all of the non-K units are now let, under signed contract, does anyone know who is going in? I'd hazard a guess at Accessorize from Colins photos

 

Incidentally Colin, I did the same several months ago, I found the back of McDonalds (Union Street) to be the most desolate. The Chadds end of town looked derelict too as did Widemarsh Street

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Online retailers move into bricks and mortar stores
By Lindsay Baker Business Reporter from BBC Business News
6 November 2013

(extract)
 

With the inexorable rise of online shopping, there have been gloomy predictions about the future of the bricks and mortar, High Street store.
 
Yet it seems that reports of its imminent demise may have been exaggerated.
 
In a new twist, established e-commerce businesses are increasingly opening physical stores.
 
This emerging trend, labelled "clicks to bricks" or "e-tail to retail", looks set to inject some much-needed vigour back into local High Streets.
 

Read the story here:

 

What happens in America usually follows over here.

I can see a future in this style of retailing saving the high street and bringing comsumers into the centre to try before they buy. Also an educational and employment opportunity to promote local, national and international businesses and their products.
 

Edited by megilleland
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I tell you what, why can't the "street traders" go into these small units like in the Butter Market or Maylords. A street market is one thing, but to have people standing around selling mobile phone covers from a hat stand is somewhat of an eye sore.

 

I'd also suggest that those clipboard carrying, tabbard wearing "flies" that hassle people throughout town be located to one spot. Setup a table or have one of Raggas' 3x3 units. I get so sick of them EVERY single time I go to town. In fact to the point that I try and use different routes. So if there was something in a shop of interest I wouldn't even know about it because I avoid the street entirely. Fortunately I don't work IN the city centre anymore, but when I did it was worse, you didn't want to go out for lunch because once you've told the first "I love your tshirt, fancy a chat" monkey to f*** off, there's about another 3 waiting up the road to go through the same process.

 

I was going to make a post about them before. They are a nuisance, rarely from Hereford and litter the streets hassling customers and visitors. Setup a table and let people come to you or f*** off!

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I can see a future in this style of retailing saving the high street and bringing comsumers into the centre to try before they buy. Also an educational and employment opportunity to promote local, national and international businesses and their products.

 

 

 

Milliihgigiglland - I've been part of a group who implemented that about 8 years ago :) I've always maintained that online shopping isn't a problem if you have knowledgeable staff with a focus of customer experience, not short term profits. Something 99% of shops fall down on. They want that sale, now, end of. They don't engage the customer base or target repeat sales. Give a man a fish....

 

Once you have someone in the shop, you can pretty much secure a sale - certainly on low ticket items. One of the problems shop owners face is the so called "click and collect" system, where you see it online, order it, and then pick it up in store. The problem here lies that the employers want to promote this system to increase revenue, however, their staff are often on a commission based pay structure so are ultimately losing out. Furthermore, it's A LOT more difficult to sell high margin attachments once the sale is closed. The customer has seen the TV online for £500, ordered it and are going to pick it up. Selling addons at this point is notoriously a sign of bad customer service and every sales person worth their beans will bring up attachments at the start of the sale, not start adding to the total cost after the customer has, essentially, made the purchase.

Edited by Biomech
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"If all of the non - k units are let, anybody know who is going in them?"

This is what I find strange Biomech - you would think this moment would have been used as an opportunity by the developers to blow their own trumpet as to the success of letting all the units.....yet,nothing!

I find that very odd indeed!

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Does anyone know how much of the Left Bank complex is currently being used?

I seem to recall reading that a solicitors firm were moving in to part of it....that still leaves a lot of space!

I have to say, I don't venture that far down very often, not since it closed.

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Thanks for the update Two Wheels. It's a real shame that this complex is being allowed to go to ruin.

 

Have just read that Debenhams have issued their second profit warning in less than 12 months.

According to The Financial Times, "Concern has been rising about trading at Debenhams, since the FT revealed two weeks ago, that it had demanded millions of pounds from suppliers."

 

Should this be ringing alarm bells...???

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For a starters, this place will not open in the Spring. It's more likely to be late Summer. As for the 'take up' of the units, all is not well, the developers are being asked to give away more than they'd like to give away and consequently the developers have taken the line, 'lets say nothing to the media' which will mitigate things when the bad news begins to drip our way.

As for Debenhams, they're riding on the back of a slump in trade that's seen their shares slashed by a huge 8% and so, given our low regional disposable income levels, they'll simply 'suck it and see', open up with a short term five year action plan and when, as is likely that they don't make the money they wish to make, they'll simply remove their fittings and fixtures and clear off leaving us with a hulk of a building that we've no idea what to do with.

In the meantime, the wage levels will not rise, the youngsters will continue to leave for a more prosperous place, our crumbling infra structure will continue to hamstring any prospect of high tech industry settling here, our dependence on a vast and cheap migrant workforce will continue, this demographics wages will continue to remain low because of the increasing market pressures that demand, 'if you don't pick our fruit for this money, another group will take your place and they'll be happy to do it,' and on and on it goes as we slide ever more quickly toward economic ruin.

It's a dog of an idea. It's a dog. It's got fleas and these fleas that are dug into our flesh bite and there'll be no happy ending to this tragic tale brought about by bloody Jarvis and his bedfellows who've asset stripped us all. We are doomed!

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Afternoon Bobby!The scenario you have put forward regarding Debenhams, is pretty much what I was thinking - if they're not tied in, they'll cut their losses and go.

As you say, what we could be left with makes the mind boggle!

 

Its going to be a while before many of us see an increase in our disposable income....you can't spend what you don't have. With the best will in the world, I just don't see a particularly rosy future for this.

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Fortunately for Hereford Voice followers, Grid Knocker only deals in 24ct bona fide facts, unlike Ragwert, who clearly inhabits a parallel universe to the rest of us.  One cushioned from the realities of this harsh Cameron / Osborne-inflicted world by bullish Press Releases from Stanhope, and optimistic briefings from British Land media men.  A Nenadich Never-Never land, filled with shops brimming with affordable goods, with fat jolly Jonathan-Bretherton-lookalike shopkeepers welcoming customers with beaming smiles.

 

FACT:  In September 2013, the BBC reported that a national survey of high street vacancies, undertaken by the Local Data Company (go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24032264 to verify this) showed a 14% vacancy rate in all English high streets.  New 'empty shop' stats are due out next week.

 

FACT:  Lining the perimeter of High Town are 52 shop units or business premises, of which 12 are currently standing empty and unlet (Colin has photographs of several of them above on this thread).  That is a vacancy rate of 23%.

 

FACT:   From the above, it would be a fair and accurate conclusion - which no retailing economist would dispute (though doubtless Ragwert will be able to put a Stanhope / British Land 'spin' on) - that Hereford's premier trading position is currently 50% worse off than the average English high street.

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Thought I'd read up about Business Rates - can our Council actually reduce them? I know they keep a percentage (25%?) of any extra new revenue.

So I thought I'd use the link from megilleland...perhaps they recognise it!!!!

 

Try these:
 
 
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