Business is booming in Hailsham, with latest figures showing a significant fall in the number of empty shop units in the town during the past year.
The latest shop to open is the new Boots Opticians store in Vicarage Field, which was opened by the Deputy Town Mayor last month.
During the past year, the town centre has welcomed Subway in Hailsham High Street, Olivia B and Mismatch in St Mary’s Walk, Todd’s Barbers in George Mews and Dragon Photography Studio in Market Street plus additional charity shops — The Salvation Army located in the Quintins Centre, Age Concern in Vicarage Field and Kit Wilson Animal Trust in the High Street.
A number of businesses in Hailsham have expanded including Dream Doors which moved from the High Street to larger premises in Diplocks Way, Renaissance Originals which relocated from St Mary’s Walk to a bigger retail space in George Mews and Neptune Home Design Centre which has extended it showroom in North Street.
The town centre received a further boost recently when a brand new Poundland store opened in the High Street earlier this year — an amalgamation of the former Wealden Beds, Stead & Simpson and Sussex Stationers retail units.
Currently there are 15 empty shop units in the town centre with two being refurbished and kitted out and, according to a recent vacancy rate survey conducted by Springboard, the percentage of vacant ground floor units in Hailsham currently stands at 8%, a decrease from 11.2% in January 2015. This compares to a current regional/South east average of 8.8% and national average of 10.2%, which is excellent news for Hailsham.
Business Enterprise Manager Mickey Caira said he is delighted to see Hailsham’s business activity strengthening and expects to see continual improvement in the year ahead: “Hailsham is the place to be and there has been a marked improvement in the number of empty shops in the town centre which has fallen by almost half.”
“The Town Council and Hailsham Forward have key priorities to work with local businesses to deliver plans to help address the issue of empty shops further and work towards a 100% occupancy rate for retail and business units.”
“The new businesses and expansion of existing ones in recent months will help to increase the vibrancy of the town centre in the long run and give shoppers even more choice.”
Town Mayor Councillor Nigel Coltman said: “Hailsham Forward and the Town Council, as well as the people of Hailsham are passionate about the town and we have all being working very hard in recent years on raising the town’s profile and trying to attract new business tenants.”
“All the hard work is paying off but we mustn’t get complacent at this stage and accept that there is still more work that needs to be done.”
Rob Slater, chairman of the Hailsham Forward Executive commented: “It is fantastic to see Hailsham thriving! The fall in empty retail units and the town centre traffic improvements which are scheduled for February 2016 will help us build on our growing reputation as a safe, clean, vibrant market town with plenty to offer residents and visitors alike.”
Terry Hall, Communications & Public Information Officer
Hailsham Town Council, Market Street, Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 2AE
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