Business closures are ‘natural evolution’ of Orchard Meadows shopping area

Meadow Street.

Meadow Street. - Credit: Archant

A shopping area in Weston-super-Mare which has seen a number of businesses close in the past six months is going through an ‘evolutionary period’ according to one of the shop owners.

A number of businesses in Orchard Street and Meadow Street have recently closed their doors.

Electrical shop Peter Castell Ltd is closing after 44 years, while homeware shop Brown’s has also announced it is closing down.

In recent months, dress shop XOXO has also closed, and costume shop Just For Fun may be relocating.

However, a North Somerset Council spokesman said Orchard Meadows has a distinct character which it is trying to preserve and enhance.

They said: “Our plans for the town focus on boosting the demand for shops and services by attracting more people to come and live in the town centre.

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“This will benefit shops already in the town, as well as creating the right environment for new businesses to start up.”

Business Improvement District chairman Paul Batts, who runs Outdoors & Active in Meadow Street, said the shop closures are part of the natural evolution in the area.

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He said: “Sometimes old businesses need to go so new ones can come in. There needs to be an evolutionary process.

“The reality is that a lot of people are coming to the end of their careers.

“What has happened over the years is if you go back three or four years ago it was starting to look a little bit run down.”

Although some new shops have opened in the area, including a toy shop and a second costume shop, other buildings have been vacant for a number of years.

In one window, formerly owned by Learn Direct, a poster still says it will be relocating in September 2013.

Mr Batts said housing may be a welcome addition to Orchard Meadows.

He said: “You get people for and against it. But if you turn a shop into a flat, the person who lives there will buy things in the area.”

Mr Batts said Big Lamp Corner is one of the only areas which still has a butcher, greengrocer, and baker, and is a great focal point in the town.

He added: “A lot of people who used Amazon realised they were not paying their taxes. And they are starting to realise businesses will go, because people are not spending their money locally.”

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