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How Many Empty Shops In Hereford 2015?


Colin James
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Quite a few of these recent one's have gone over to the new retail Old Market quarter, this is why I said at the time it has made Hereford a "tale of two city's". Something needs to be done and quick. I was speaking to the builders at the River Island site this week because the hoarding  had been removed. I asked them when the development of the site would be finished he said "he didn't know". I also said we need the hoarding replaced with something better than what has been taken down, he told me it was being replaced with wooden panels, when I came back past an hour later wooden panels were already going up again.

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Quite a few of these recent one's have gone over to the new retail Old Market quarter, this is why I said at the time it has made Hereford a "tale of two city's". Something needs to be done and quick. I was speaking to the builders at the River Island site this week because the hoarding  had been removed. I asked them when the development of the site would be finished he said "he didn't know". I also said we need the hoarding replaced with something better than what has been taken down, he told me it was being replaced with wooden panels, when I came back past an hour later wooden panels were already going up again.

 

New wood facia went up today ... I went into town for the first time since November today ...I noticed that ... 

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I think this list just goes to show we have way too many shops in Hereford and a lot of them could be put to better use,flats,etc.

The building in picture 15 is  internally unsafe so will not be used as a shop anytime soon.

 

How can there be too many shops? It's the city centre, the last thing we want to do is turn them into flats, we have residential area's for that. As soon as you start turning these shops into flats you then create other problems, someone want to open a club/pub then you have objections etc.. The answer is to invest in these units and the surroundings, Hereford City centre is in much need of some serious TLC and has been neglected for far too long.

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Just counting the empty shops thus far (not including Watercress) we have a staggering 54 empty shops in 2015 in Hereford, this is scary! Compare that to the large number of empty shops that Colin highlighted last year of 41 empty shops and it's not looking good.

 

This is a very good exercise Colin and obviously a tremendous amount of effort on your part, thank you for highlighting this. The HT would be well to publish your findings too.

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Is anyone the slightest bit surprised by what is happening in the historic centre? The Council have presided over a strategy that has divided the city. Many of us who opposed the Livestock Market development foresaw the consequences of building a new shopping centre on the other side of the ring-road. Personally, I am only shocked by the fact that the devastation has been far worse than anyone could have imagined.

 

Although the economic effects were predictable, the Council ploughed on with their mis-guided scheme even when British Land squeezed the pips with a classic piece of brinksmanship and negotiated a £500k reduction in the price of the site at the very last minute. Since then, the Council have allowed the developer, Stanhope, to poach the major retailers from the city centre despite paying lip-service to an anti-poaching policy.

 

In case anyone still thinks the Council don't have their fingerprints all over this, Colin's photo #41 is the former H & M store in Commercial Street. With the full knowledge of the Council, Stanhope bought the remainder of this Commercial Street lease - and then closed the store! Surprise! Surprise! H & M have resurfaced in the Livestock Market where, no doubt, they are operating rent-free.

 

If the Council now want to right this situation, they need to come up with some means (rate rebates?) of attracting retailers to the historic centre. Personally, I am not holding my breath.

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Is anyone the slightest bit surprised by what is happening in the historic centre? The Council have presided over a strategy that has divided the city. Many of us who opposed the Livestock Market development foresaw the consequences of building a new shopping centre on the other side of the ring-road. Personally, I am only shocked by the fact that the devastation has been far worse than anyone could have imagined.

 

Although the economic effects were predictable, the Council ploughed on with their mis-guided scheme even when British Land squeezed the pips with a classic piece of brinksmanship and negotiated a £500k reduction in the price of the site at the very last minute. Since then, the Council have allowed the developer, Stanhope, to poach the major retailers from the city centre despite paying lip-service to an anti-poaching policy.

 

In case anyone still thinks the Council don't have their fingerprints all over this, Colin's photo #41 is the former H & M store in Commercial Street. With the full knowledge of the Council, Stanhope bought the remainder of this Commercial Street lease - and then closed the store! Surprise! Surprise! H & M have resurfaced in the Livestock Market where, no doubt, they are operating rent-free.

 

If the Council now want to right this situation, they need to come up with some means (rate rebates?) of attracting retailers to the historic centre. Personally, I am not holding my breath.

 

I do not completely disagree with you, however, these bigger companies who have opened in the Old Market would never of come into High Town without investment and incentives from HC. I for one love the new shopping centre but I think they could of combined the two better than it is. Colin suggested a foot bridge which looking back would of definitely been a good thing, too many people crossing over that road for my liking and a bridge would of prevented all of that. Maylord Orchards is more or less dead now but there has been no investment since the place was built! Huge rates do not help either add this will the closure of public toilets and traffic wardens who act like they are on commission and its all looking pretty bleak.

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"....these bigger companies would never have come ...."

 

Hmmm. Such as Fat Face, Pandora, H and M, Dorothy Perkins, TopShop, Clarkes Shoes, Next, and TK Maxx???

 

Stores that were already trading in Herefords High Town??

 

 

Perhaps you refer to Waitrose Supermarket.....to add to the seven supermarkets we already had?

 

Which kind of leaves Debenhams....which, according to staff working in several of the franchises, have so few customers, they are struggling to hit sales targets.

 

The cinema....a definite plus. Much needed, and from what I hear, used by many.

 

Otherwise, it is a food outlet village...chain restaurants which can be found up and down the country.

 

It's a real shame that incentives cannot be offered to our Independent traders, and perhaps a rethink on astronomical business rates on High Town properties, which are currently empty and making such a negative impact on the appearance of our historic city centre.

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"....these bigger companies would never have come ...."

 

Hmmm. Such as Fat Face, Pandora, H and M, Dorothy Perkins, TopShop, Clarkes Shoes, Next, and TK Maxx???

 

Stores that were already trading in Herefords High Town??

 

 

Perhaps you refer to Waitrose Supermarket.....to add to the seven supermarkets we already had?

 

Which kind of leaves Debenhams....which, according to staff working in several of the franchises, have so few customers, they are struggling to hit sales targets.

 

The cinema....a definite plus. Much needed, and from what I hear, used by many.

 

Otherwise, it is a food outlet village...chain restaurants which can be found up and down the country.

 

It's a real shame that incentives cannot be offered to our Independent traders, and perhaps a rethink on astronomical business rates on High Town properties, which are currently empty and making such a negative impact on the appearance of our historic city centre.

 

I was referring to Debenhams and I have a family member who works there and they have had fantastic sales figures since opening which are way beyond the targets that were set, so not sure where you have your information come from there. Then there is Swarovski, River Island, Joules, l'Occitane, Paperchase and Tiger. We can be as negative as we want but I think this new shopping centre has lifted the city and visitor numbers are up, on the flipside of this the city centre has suffered be losing the stores that left to go to the new units, maybe the Council should of tried harder to keep them stores in High Town. With regard to chain restaurants its no different to chain stores but now at least we have a little more choice which hopefully will keep attracting more and more visitors to Hereford. The Cinema was a must.

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So - Roger hasnt been to town since NOVEMBER!!!

 

However - WE all want our shops in high town full.

 

Roger isnt alone - there will be many people who have not been in town for some time.

 

BUT - we want all shops full?

 

Sadly - I agree - add some residential to the town centre - that is the way forward.

 

Would I want to live there? NO. However - there will be people who will want to live there.

 

I personally dont see any more pub / liquor licences being applied for.

 

The reason the shops are closing is simple - there are not enough shoppers around.

The reason the pubs are closing - the way we drink has changed.

 

This is not complicated - we shop differently as we now buy more items on the internet.

We buy more drink from the supermarket than ever before - AND we are slowly becoming more health conscious and drinking less - hence - pubs are closing.

 

The world is changing - I dont like it - but its happening - we need to understand these changes and MANAGE them.

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I was referring to Debenhams and I have a family member who works there and they have had fantastic sales figures since opening which are way beyond the targets that were set, so not sure where you have your information come from there. Then there is Swarovski, River Island, Joules, l'Occitane, Paperchase and Tiger. We can be as negative as we want but I think this new shopping centre has lifted the city and visitor numbers are up, on the flipside of this the city centre has suffered be losing the stores that left to go to the new units, maybe the Council should of tried harder to keep them stores in High Town. With regard to chain restaurants its no different to chain stores but now at least we have a little more choice which hopefully will keep attracting more and more visitors to Hereford. The Cinema was a must.

Yes Mick there is far too many negativity about the old market, it's here now so we need to embrace what we have! I think the HC have totally knackered things in the city centre though and all we can do is continue to put pressure on them to invest more in high town and the butter market, sort out the old River island building for starters etc..

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Yes we need to move on with the changes so agree with most recent posters and to be fair even you agree with this Dippy. Mrs Knight and I purchase on the internet but make a point of getting into town on Saturdays parking in Gaol Street shopping through Old Town and walking onto the new development and yes I like my Costa whilst appreciating the Border Oak structure.

Would miss the Buttermarket and Phlip Morris if they fell to our shopping habits so are supported accordingly.

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I have added a few more empty shops bringing the total to 54 (with the exception of Watercress Harrys). I have not included any pubs, clubs or any empty units on retail parks. 

 

Based on these figures there are 13 more empty shops compared to the same time last year when I did this exercise, so shops are closing in Hereford at a rate of one per month which is unbelievable! 

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Treasure Island the charity shop has 3 shops in town bookshop,clothes and household goods they are all closing in February.They don't have enough customers and since the new development it has got worse. They are developing the area they are in and Roman Glass are moving as well.It is going to be residential with some shops.The clothes shop opposite Body care is closing and the suit shop next to it as well

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Looking at all the empty shops it makes you wonder why the new shopping centre was built in the first place it would have been more sense to build houses/flats whatever and then regenerated the original town centre.  Anyway all this has been said a hundred times before. The point I am making and yes it is off topic the same thing is happening at Rotherwas because of costs there are no end of empty units yet they are proceeding with the construction of yet more units.  I suppose this all has been the philosophy all along instead of putting right what has become a bit old fashioned/ neglected something new and shiny is constructed with very tempting rents/rates and so it goes on.

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Looking at all the empty shops it makes you wonder why the new shopping centre was built in the first place it would have been more sense to build houses/flats whatever and then regenerated the original town centre.  Anyway all this has been said a hundred times before. The point I am making and yes it is off topic the same thing is happening at Rotherwas because of costs there are no end of empty units yet they are proceeding with the construction of yet more units.  I suppose this all has been the philosophy all along instead of putting right what has become a bit old fashioned/ neglected something new and shiny is constructed with very tempting rents/rates and so it goes on.

 

This is a separate topic Denise but for the record a lot of the land at Rotherwas is obviously privately owned, so I guess any new owners can build what they like providing they pass the planning stage.

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Afternoon Mick!

 

I apologise if my post came across as negative, re-reading it, I guess it does.

 

I still feel that the other stores you mention, Joules, Paperchase, L'Occitane and Tiger could easily have been accommodated within the many empty units we have.....which leaves Debenhams. Many years ago, I believe Debenhams were going to be the anchor store within what was then, the new Maylords Orchard - but the Chadds family scuppered this plan, and so we got C and A instead!

 

However, as Green Knight said, I am not against progress - I just question what that progress is precisely, when we can leave our city centre to rot. My only course of action is to continue to spend my money with independent traders, and support High Town businesses where I can.

 

 Tourists come to Hereford for The Cathedral, The Mappa Mundi, The River Wye....the list goes on. I don't believe Nandos will attract tourists! But we are where we are, which means we do need a radical re think,if Hereford City Centre is to be prevented from falling even further into decline.

 

Imagine for a moment, that all businesses in Eign Gate, were moved to plug the gaps in High Town, Widemarsh Street and Commercial Street. Imagine that Eign Gate became a greener space, with grass, trees and affordable housing for our younger population?

 

Wouldn't this make Hereford feel more vibrant and bustling?? More attractive to both locals and tourists alike?

 

I don't believe we are ever going to fill all those empty shops, so lets re think what the "foot print" of the city centre should be.

 

We all want a better Herefordshire, I believe that making the best of what we have is a good starting point!

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Yes high town is dying it is a long & painful death too,& we are all it's witness's.

But as we are only the poor inhabitants of this city we are powerless in finding a remedy to cure its ills,as those in power are blind to our existence & have no ears to hear us with! so it will continue to spiral into decay before dying a death most horrid!

But it doesn't have to be this way…time for a radical rethink on wot we want for high town & how we see its future…I'd like to see it become a vibrant social hub with shops bars & restaurants etc make it a fun place to be so as to attract people into the area not just in the daytime but nighttime also!

It's time the people of Hereford stood up & be counted,so as to stop the council from just riding rough shot over us all the time!! There's no reason why both high town & the OLM can't be successful?!

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Afternoon Mick!

 

I apologise if my post came across as negative, re-reading it, I guess it does.

 

I still feel that the other stores you mention, Joules, Paperchase, L'Occitane and Tiger could easily have been accommodated within the many empty units we have.....which leaves Debenhams. Many years ago, I believe Debenhams were going to be the anchor store within what was then, the new Maylords Orchard - but the Chadds family scuppered this plan, and so we got C and A instead!

 

However, as Green Knight said, I am not against progress - I just question what that progress is precisely, when we can leave our city centre to rot. My only course of action is to continue to spend my money with independent traders, and support High Town businesses where I can.

 

 Tourists come to Hereford for The Cathedral, The Mappa Mundi, The River Wye....the list goes on. I don't believe Nandos will attract tourists! But we are where we are, which means we do need a radical re think,if Hereford City Centre is to be prevented from falling even further into decline.

 

Imagine for a moment, that all businesses in Eign Gate, were moved to plug the gaps in High Town, Widemarsh Street and Commercial Street. Imagine that Eign Gate became a greener space, with grass, trees and affordable housing for our younger population?

 

Wouldn't this make Hereford feel more vibrant and bustling?? More attractive to both locals and tourists alike?

 

I don't believe we are ever going to fill all those empty shops, so lets re think what the "foot print" of the city centre should be.

 

We all want a better Herefordshire, I believe that making the best of what we have is a good starting point!

 

There is no need for you to apologise, it is a good sign that at least we are all passionate about our city.  :Winky:  I agree that Nandos might not attract tourist but I do think that the new restaurants play a part in attracting locals and people from the surrounding towns, hamlets and villages. Housing I think she be kept out of the city centre because once you start with housing you then in turn have obstacles when venus and pubs stay open, noise etc.

 

High Town and the OLM should of been looked upon as one and not split, I was always in favour of Colin's suggestion of a foot bridge, this would not of interfered with the flow of traffic and I am sure that something could of been done with linking such a bridge from the multi storey directly into Maylord Orchards, even better it would of had a roof and in theory people could go directly from the vehicles into shops without worrying about the weather or cold. On the subject of roof's I was disappointed that there was no roof on the shops within the square of Maylord Orchards and along Gomond St and at the back of the Butter Market when that was built and I cannot believe that no roof exists at the OLM (I am sure one could still be built if required). These are all key factors that make up a great shopping experience in my opinion.

 

I have just returned from France and their like a lot of places, the shopping centres are combined on several floors with hotels, car parks and eateries with nightclubs on the top floors, all of these places have security and it just works. You would think that they would of learned these lessons from the failure of Maylord Orchards.

 

Unless some serious investment is pumped into High Town to entice company's here, it will die. What company is going to move into a dilapidated old building, with damp and in need of renovation, add this to the fact that a lot are listed and you have your answer.

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Hi Mick, thanks for the reply!

 

We may have very different views on the way forward for Herefords City Centre, but the fact we can listen to each others view point is a real positive!

 

It will be very interesting to see what difference the 2.5 million pounds, which Herefordshire Council have announced has been earmarked for the city centre, will make. Will their priorities be the same as either mine or yours I wonder?

 

I also think if the vote to back Herefords BID goes through, these guys will have plenty to add to the mix, with ideas for revitalising our centre. Made up of local business owners, they more than any other group, have the expertise and know how, we should perhaps be listening to.

 

Glad to hear you enjoyed your trip to France....au revoir for now!

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Hi Mick, thanks for the reply!

 

We may have very different views on the way forward for Herefords City Centre, but the fact we can listen to each others view point is a real positive!

 

It will be very interesting to see what difference the 2.5 million pounds, which Herefordshire Council have announced has been earmarked for the city centre, will make. Will their priorities be the same as either mine or yours I wonder?

 

I also think if the vote to back Herefords BID goes through, these guys will have plenty to add to the mix, with ideas for revitalising our centre. Made up of local business owners, they more than any other group, have the expertise and know how, we should perhaps be listening to.

 

Glad to hear you enjoyed your trip to France....au revoir for now!

 

The world would be a boring place if we all agreed but it is good to share our views. Lets hope they spend the money wisely. 

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