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News - 8 January 2003

Western Road - good news and bad news

Vacancy rates go down but graffiti goes up in Western Road

The vacancy rate in Western Road has plummeted since September last year from nearly 10% to just over 4%.

A number of units that have been empty for a considerable period of time have now been let and this will undoubtedly encourage takers for the remaining vacant units.

In the North Laine vacancy rate has dipped marginally from 7.7% to 6.6% and in The Lanes there has been little change at around 7%. The disruption in North Street with the redevelopment of Hanningtons and the old Essoldo site have caused the vacancy rate to increase from 11% to nearly 20% but hopefully it can now enjoy a period of increasing stability.

Vacancy rate might be down in Western Road but unfortunately the level of graffiti is up. While areas like the North Laine have made tremendous progress in reducing graffiti over the past eighteen months, Western Road has suffered badly.

Part of the problem rests with businesses that are not tackling the problem presumably unaware of the damage that it is doing to their image.

It is a sad but inescapable fact that every business needs to have a strategy in place to take responsibility for graffiti and to deal with it promptly. Over the past eighteen months the Business Forum has coordinated a mutli-agency strategy for the city centre involving all the organisations that play a part in addressing this issue.

In the new year we will be turning our attention to Western Road. Working with the local authority we are putting together an offer that we hope no business will be able to refuse.

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