'Sad' empty shops cause a stir on Streetlife

PUBLISHED: 11:00 11 April 2015 | UPDATED: 14:44 13 April 2015

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The number of empty shops in Weston town centre has been a cause for concern on Streetlife this week.

Many users were lamenting over how many empty units they had spotted around the town, with a number of reasons being given for the apparent decline in local business.

Sarah W started the conversation after noticing empty shops in the back streets close to Weston Museum.

She said: “I’m shocked to see the amount of businesses that have closed down, it’s so sad.

“There were some lovely little shops here like the reptile and aquatics shop and the pet shop, but they’ve gone now and it looks awful with all these empty units. It could do with a tidy up and some promoting I think.”

Her message sparked several replies offering reasons as to why so many shops are empty. Jill B said: “Shopkeepers simply cannot avoid the rents, hence they close down.”

Ally I said: “The council should give a discount to small start-up businesses for 12 months to give them a chance to get on their feet. You’d think discounted rent or business rates is better than nothing at all.”

Shop owner Rhodie disagreed: “It is not always the landlord’s fault. I am a shop owner and over the years we have reduced the rent considerably so we can keep our tenants in.

“It is the council and business rates that cripple the tenants.”

Dave B, however, did not feel the council was to blame: “I don’t think business rates are a matter for the council. Surely they are set nationally; although I thought there was some relief for empty properties.

“Equally, the council can’t be blamed for rents. These are a matter for the landlords - although I have some sympathy for Rhodie’s point of view.”

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