Brighton’s independent sector has coped well with the recession but vacancy rates. while still well below the national benchmark of 12.4% have crept up..
According to a survey completed by the Business Forum in March vacancy in the North Laine rose to 8.2%. This is an increase from 5% in October and all streets apart from Gardner St have been affected to a greater or lesser extent.
The areas that are showing real decline as opposed to 'churn' or change of ownership are mainly on the edges of the North Laine, particularly streets that are outside the Business Improvement District [BID] area such as Church Street, Gloucester Road, North Road and Trafalgar Street.
In contrast, however, The Lanes have seen a marked improvement in vacancies with the rate falling from 5% in October to 2.2% . East Street for example has welcomed the arrival of Links, All Saints and Jezebel.
The overall rate for the city as a whole is 8.8% which is still well below the national average.
However, there are areas of continuing concern not least of which is Preston Street where vacancy has been consistently high since well before the recession took hold. It continues to be one of the most problematic streets and vacancy is now running at 18.8% compared with 17.4% in October. The City Council, the Business Forum and the local traders association are working together to try and reinvigorate the area.
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Brighton & Hove Business Forum