According to figures from The Local Data Company the average shop vacancy rate grew slightly to 14.6% in the year to June, up from 14.3% a year ago. Brighton & Hove significantly bucks this trend.
Only London saw a decline in vacancy rates and the worst performing region overall is the North West, with 20.1% average vacancy rate. The worst performing city centre is Nottingham, with a vacancy rate above 30%, followed by Walsall at 29.6% and Stockport at 28.4%.
Matthew Hopkinson, director at The Local Data Company, said, "This report clearly shows the key economic and structural issues which are impacting town centres up and down the country. These issues still have some way to go before we see wide stability and positive change.
However, the findings were challenged by a group representing town centre managers. Martin Blackwell, chief executive of the Association of Town Centre Management [ATCM], said the figures were flawed. "They use an out-of-date set of criteria for establishing town centre boundaries and, as a result, they don't reflect the reality on the ground," he said.
Brighton’s vacancy rate was last measured in February and is due to be surveyed again this month. In February Brighton’s rate was 6.9% and has probably improved marginally since then with empty units on North Street getting new lettings. Hove’s was even better at 3.9%.
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