A shopping centre struggling to attract customers has 26 empty shops, a survey reveals.
A management count of Southend’s Victoria Centre’s 63 units this week showed 41 per cent are vacant.It’s an old refrain. The place has never been filled since opening, probably due to the sky-high rents charged which drove out old favourites.
Even those shops which have relocated to the Victoria have left behind gaping wounds in the High Street which are filled (if at all) with the sort of stores no-one in their right mind would buy from…
Yesterday, the Echo told how traders there blamed changes to the Victoria Gateway for hitting trade. They blame politicians for not acting quickly enough to address their concerns over the lack of shoppers.Wha..? What have politicians got to do with it?
The association believes a second crossing in the shared space area, which was completed in 2011, has diverted people from an escalator leading to the centre, resulting in a drop of more than 500,000 visitors. Traders say they want the crossing removed or fenced off.
They also believe the recent introduction of trees and seats proved there was money in the pot and the opportunity to do something to help the centre had been ignored.Oh, FFS! The crossing has little to do with the lack of footfall, since even people using it are directed up the side of the Odeon and then can enter the Victoria at midlevel on the left, should they wish.
Clearly, should they not wish, these idiots would like to see them forced into it. At gunpoint, probably.
Graham Longley, deputy leader and councillor responsible for enterprise, tourism and economic regeneration, said he believed the problems at the centre were temporary. He said: “I think it is a superb centre and the owners have done an awful lot of work on it.
“The centre has just had a major new business start there with the Pound Shop moving in.
“I think the centre has maybe been through a hard patch, but I think it’s a short-term issue.
“The council is always doing all it can to encourage businesses, but I think it is a matter of encouraging the right blend of businesses to come in.”Get the right blend of businesses, and customers will beat a path to your door. Get the wrong one (and remember, you’re competing with the Internet now) and…they won’t.
There’s very little government – local or national - can do to help you if you are selling things people don’t want to buy, or can get cheaper elsewhere.